LONDON: The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has been sued by former umpires John Holder and Ismail Dawood for alleged racial discrimination during their time in the board’s employment, a report said.
The duo had accused the ECB of institutional racism and demanded an independent inquiry into the lack of match officials from ethnic minority groups in the country last month.
“Holder lodged his claim at the London central office of the employment tribunal two days before Christmas,” according to a report in ‘The Guardian’.
A former Hampshire cricketer, Holder has officiated in 11 Tests and 19 ODIs in a career spanning almost three decades.
“The legal action against the ECB relates to his employment as a first class umpire between 1983 and 2009.
“Holder was dropped from the ECB’s Test match list in 1991, a few weeks after he reported an incident of alleged ball-tampering by an England player in a Test against West Indies at the Oval,” the report said.
Holder and former U-19 cricketer Dawood “are seeking compensation and a recommendation on the ECB’s future conduct under s.123 (3) (b) of the 2010 Equality Act.”
Dawood, who has played for Northamptonshire, Worcestershire, Glamorgan and Yorkshire but could never make umpiring a career after failing to win promotion to the panel following the end of his playing career in 2005, said that there were “systematic failings.”
“I was told I was going to get promoted one year in an appraisal, it was verbal. It didn’t transpire,” Dawood told ‘Sky Sports News’.
“On six different occasions I was superseded in terms of getting promotion. My reports and statistical data by various different people who do the reports were all of a sound manner and I wasn’t given the opportunities to gain promotion, which of course I felt aggrieved about.
“I still don’t know why my career was cut short. We believe there has been systematic failings within, a type of bullying, harassment and cronyism which I was involved with in terms of the umpiring fraternity, was terrible,” he added.
An ECB spokesperson, in response said: “We are not aware of the detail of this claim from John Holder and are therefore unable to comment upon it. The ECB is absolutely committed to ensuring there is no place for discrimination, of any kind, in our sport.
“As with all areas of our game, we want our match officials to represent and reflect everyone who supports and plays cricket.
“…we have been arranging to meet with John Holder and others to listen to their experiences so as to better inform our future approach to recruiting and developing umpires and match officials.”