Umpire Hair says the ICC failed to explain demotion

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The Independent Online

Darrell Hair, the Australian umpire who is suing the International Cricket Council for racial discrimination, told an employment tribunal in London yesterday that he had not been given a chance to question his employers about why he had been demoted as a Test match umpire. The governing body of the game had not shown any concern for his welfare and he had been unable to find any permanent employment upon moving back to Australia.

Hair claimed that had he been from West Indies, India or Pakistan, he might have been treated like Billy Doctrove, his fellow umpire, and a black West Indian in the final Test at the Oval last year when Pakistan were accused of ball-tampering. Hair later awarded the Test match victory to England when Pakistan refused to play.

The umpire has estimated that his losses, had he continued as an international umpire after his present contract with the ICC ended would be about £1.7m.

"Approximate earnings for a normal allocation of Test and one-day internationals plus the World Cup in 2007 would have been US$90,000 to US$100,000," he claimed.

The hearing in the Central London Employment Tribunal continues today, when Hair will be cross-examined by Michael Beloff QC for the ICC. One of the witnesses is flying in to London, Nasim Ashraf, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board and he said yesterday that Hair's claims are: "Nonsense. His behaviour was inappropriate for a Test umpire and there was no racial discrimination involved."

Hair said: "I find it incredulous that an ICC sub-committee adopted a position leading to my removal from umpiring top-level cricket without me being given a chance to defend the charges against me or even to know what I am alleged to have done wrong," Hair said. "I asked Malcolm Speed [the chief Executive of the ICC] if it could possibly be performance related but he agreed that my performances since joining the elite panel had generally been very good and I had continually been ranked in the top three umpires. I was at a loss to understand how my career could possibly be effectively ended unless it was by a racially motivated and racially discriminated process."

John Jameson the former assistant secretary of MCC, will be in the witness box this afternoon to clarify the Laws of Cricket, assuming the cross-examination of Hair has been completed.

The hearing is scheduled to conclude on 12 October but may go on longer.