DateLine: 6th October 2007
Cricket umpire Darrell Hair was not barred from officiating at Test matches because he is white, a senior figure from the International Cricket Council told his employment tribunal Friday.
Sir John Anderson, an ICC executive board member, said that the decision was taken out of a wish to protect cricket but added it was "generally felt" that a disciplinary procedure would not have faulted Hair's conduct.
Hair is taking action against the ICC for alleged racial discrimination after an England versus Pakistan Test match at the Oval in London last year when Pakistan were penalised for ball tampering and refused to continue in protest, leading to England being awarded the match.
The Australian says that, while he has not been allowed to officiate in Tests since the incident, his co-umpire Billy Doctrove, a West Indian, has not been punished.
Anderson told the tribunal in London that Hair, as a senior umpire, had been in charge of making sure the match continued but had failed to do so by not telling Pakistan's captain, Inzamam ul-Haq, that Pakistan would forfeit the match if players did not return to the field.
Anderson was involved in an ICC board meeting in Mumbai, India, last November which agreed a resolution saying Hair should no longer umpire full member international matches.
"My resolution was not influenced in any way by the fact that Darrell is white," he said in a statement.
"I also do not believe that the Pakistan Cricket Board's complaints had anything to do with Darrell's race. It was a matter of honour for them.
"They believed that Darrell had acted inappropriately by awarding the match to England and not allowing play to resume against the wishes of all the interested parties."
Hair told the tribunal earlier this week that he would "do exactly the same thing again" if the situation recurred and had been "extremely disappointed" at how the match had ended.
The hearing will continue Monday.
(Article: Copyright © 2007 AFP)
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