Cricket: Ex-England captain Michael Vaughan dropped from Ashes coverage amid racism allegations

Former England captain Michael Vaughan will play no part in the BBC's coverage of the upcoming Ashes series, after being named in the racism controversy involving former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq.

Rafiq alleges that Vaughan told him and two other players of Asian origin that there were "too many of you lot, we need to do something about it" before a match in 2009. Vaughan has strongly denied the accusation.

"While he is involved in a significant story in cricket, for editorial reasons, we do not believe that it would be appropriate for Vaughan to have a role in our Ashes team or wider coverage of the sport at the moment," says the BBC.

"We require our contributors to talk about relevant topics and his involvement in the Yorkshire story represents a conflict of interest."

Vaughan is disappointed with the decision, but adds the problems afflicting the sport are bigger than his plight. He will instead join the commentary team of host broadcaster Fox in Australia.

"Very disappointed not to be commentating for TMS (Test Match Special) on the Ashes, and will miss working with great colleagues and friends, but looking forward to being behind the mic for [Fox cricket] in Australia," he writes on Instagram.

"The issues facing cricket are bigger than any individual case and I want to be part of the solution, listening, educating myself and helping to make it a more welcoming sport for all."

Earlier this month, Vaughan, 47, - who has been a BBC analyst since 2009 - was dropped from a radio show by the broadcaster, after the allegations came to light.

The five-test Ashes series between England and hosts Australia begins in Brisbane on December 9.

The racism scandal that has engulfed English cricket has also seen former players at Essex saying that they suffered racist abuse at the club.

One of Essex's principal sponsors - training and skills provider Seetec - has now suspended ties with the team "with immediate effect".

"Any form of racism should not be tolerated," says a Seetec spokesperson. "We encourage sports clubs to work with their local community to celebrate diversity and work at all levels to root out racism, wherever it manifests."