Former umpires sue ECB over alleged racial discrimination

29th Jan 2021

Elham Asaad Buaras

Former umpires Ismail Dawood and John Holder announced on December 30 that they are to sue England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for alleged racial discrimination.

Dawood and Holder are claiming institutionalised racism and in November called for a QC-led inquiry into the fact the ECB has not appointed a non-white umpire to the full-time panel in almost three decades, Both men allege their careers have been cut short due to this with Dawood insisting he was overlooked for promotion on no fewer than six occasions and received a negative response from the ECB when applying to be an umpire, at the expense of white former players who jumped above him.

Dawood, who represented four counties during an 11-year playing career, told Sky Sports News, “I was told I was going to get promoted one year in an appraisal, it was verbal.

It didn’t transpire. “On six different occasions I was superseded in terms of getting promotion.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 have been systematic failings within, a type of bullying, harassment and cronyism which I was involved with in terms of the umpiring fraternity was terrible.

“If it was another organisation, some of the behaviour dished out by management and endorsed by the board was truly unacceptable.
“I feel really aggrieved in terms of how I was treated, it left me very isolated.”

Holder, 75, played for Hampshire before being appointed to the first-class umpiring panel in 1983 and then elevated to internationals in 1988, umpiring in 11 Tests and 19 ODIs, and continuing to officiate in county games until 2009.

Last month the ECB introduced new measures to encourage diversity in English cricket, including a new equality code of conduct and A Forum for Race in Cricket. The organisation also made commitments for more ethnically diverse representation in on all umpire and match referee selection panels and aim to have 15 per cent of all umpires on the national panel from an ethnically diverse background by the end of 2021.

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