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Race bias claim by umpire Hair
by AFP


Player:DB Hair
Event:Pakistan in England 2006

DateLine: 2nd October 2007

Darrell Hair, the Australian umpire who was giving evidence on the second day of his legal action against the International Cricket Council (ICC), the governing body of the game, claimed he was not permitted to stand in top-level matches because "it was motivated along racial lines."

Hair, who is suing the ICC for racial discrimination in the Central London Employment Tribunal, said: "If I had been from West Indies or Pakistan or India, I might have been treated differently, like Billy Doctrove."

He was referring to his fellow umpire, a black West Indian, who was standing with him in the final Test at the Oval last year when Pakistan were accused of ball-tampering, and who has continued to officiate in Tests and one day international matches.

"At the time we told Inzamam-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, that we believed the marks we found on the ball were deliberately put there," the burly umpire explained to the hearing.

"After the match I was continually pilloried in the media by Shaharyar Khan, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, and Inzamam, which was clearly in breach of ICC conduct - and yet it did nothing to prevent this."<

The stance that Hair is taking is that his decisions during the Test were in unison with Doctrove, whereas the ICC is claiming that he was the senior umpire and hence took the initiative himself.

Hair also emphasised that the match was awarded to England and not forfeited, as was supposed at the time.

"There is nothing in the Laws of Cricket to permit a governing body to overturn an umpire's decision," he said.

Hair, who said he was given little time in which to find a lawyer before the disclosure of what he considered to his private e-mail correspondence to the ICC was made public, claimed that Malcolm Speed, the chief executive of the ICC, who has been present throughout the first two days of the hearing, said to him in the wake of the Oval Test: "We have something in common - the ICC wants to sack both of us."

Hair, 55, spent the whole day giving evidence, although there was a one and a half hour break for lunch while the three-man tribunal read detailed notes prepared by his legal team.

Michael Beloff QC, for the ICC, intends to spend a full day cross-examining him, which means that the hearing might not be concluded by the scheduled finishing date of October 12.

The first witness, John Jameson, the former assistant secretary of the MCC who will be questioned on the Laws of Cricket, is not likely to be called until Wednesday afternoon.

There was still no sign of Inzamam, who was served a witness summons by Hair's lawyers and who made himself unavailable for the Test between Pakistan and South Africa in Karachi this week.

The tribunal has the power to issue sanctions that could lead to prosecution if he does not appear.

The chairman also has the power to reconvene the hearing if it is not concluded, but that would probably not occur for several months.

(Article: Copyright © 2007 AFP) spacer

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