Darrell Hair tribunal, 1st day October 1, 2007

Asian bloc forced ICC's hand claims Hair QC

Cricinfo staff

Darrell Hair arrives at the London Central Employment Tribunal for the first day's play © Getty Images
Robert Griffiths QC, Darrell Hair's barrister, has told a tribunal in London that the ICC bowed to pressure from a bloc of Asian countries when it, in effect, sacked his client in the aftermath of the abandonment of the Oval Test last year.

Speaking on the first day of Hair's claim at the London Central Employment Tribunal that he suffered racial discrimination at the hands of the ICC, Griffiths maintained that the Indian and Pakistan boards heavily influenced the ICC.

"Darrell Hair's case is that he was treated the way he was because the ICC bowed to the racially discriminatory pressure that was brought to bear on it by the Asian bloc and ICC board member supporters," Griffiths said. "The Asian bloc is dominant in cricket sometimes it uses that dominance inappropriately. Everyone knows it, but most are afraid to say so."

Griffith asked why the ICC's three-man panel who looked into Hair's future included Pakistan board chairman Nasim Ashraf - who had earlier called for sanctions against Hair - Sir John Anderson, the New Zealand board chairman who supported action against Hair, and Zimbabwe Cricket president Peter Chingoka. "As the world knows only too well, Zimbabwe Cricket has not historically selected teams on merit," he said. "It has selected its players on the basis of their race and colour.

"An environment has been created for him that is any or all of intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating and offensive. His feelings have been most significantly injured. He has suffered both personally and financially."

He was the author of his own misfortune. In cricketing terms, Mr Hair ran himself out

Michael Beloff QC

Opening for the defence, Michael Beloff QC denied the allegations. "[Hair] was not a victim of race discrimination," he said. "He was the author of his own misfortune. In cricketing terms, Mr Hair ran himself out.

"His case on the question of discrimination has been changeable, evasive and, to a degree, reckless. He was immeasurably the more experienced and senior of the two umpires and in respect of every action during the fourth Test which has excited adverse comment, Mr Hair took the initiative and Mr [Billy] Doctrove's role was only to agree.

"Critically, it was Mr Hair who baled out of the crucial meeting when an attempt was made by all interested parties to broker a restart to the match," Beloff continued. "The fact that a majority of those who supported the so-called resolution were Black or Asian does not of itself establish or even give rise to the inference that they took their decision on grounds of Mr Hair's race as distinct from his behaviour."

When he took the stand after lunch Hair accused Anderson of brokering a secret deal to end his career during a private lunch during an ICC meeting. That conversation was not previously disclosed and Hair's lawyers maintain that crucial discussions were left out of official transcripts in what was described as a "Watergate-style cover-up".

Hair explained why he accused Pakistan of ball-tampering, claiming that he felt the rough state of the ball "had been accelerated by human intervention". He stressed he had taken joint decisions throughout the Test with Doctrove. "I was surprised by how much roughing up of the ball there had been," Hair told the tribunal. "There were quite a few scratch marks on it."

He said that at the conclusion of the game "Doctrove called time and I removed the bails at my end," indicating the decision was taken in unison. He also said that "the abuse I received from Pakistan players continued unchecked by the ICC".

Arriving at the hearing, Ray Mali, the ICC president, told reporters: "We are here today because we are an organisation that believes in fairness, justice and equality. We have come here to prove that we have been fair throughout this process. We believe racism was never an issue in this matter."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Subhasish on October 3, 2007, 16:29 GMT

    The critical point is Mr. Hair took the entire set of actions based on an assumption of ball tampering. To my best knowledge this stood disproved. Whats more it seems that the allegation was not well verified during the decision. To me if that is not a case of profiling, what is?

    Some have questioned how and whether he deviated from the books. The point is not about books. But that all the actions stemed from a judgement he is allowed in his capacity. He took the most severe steps in the books possible. What is in doubt is his use of judgement and authority that is allowed to him.

    So when Mr. Hair alleges discrimination from ICC, I cant see why he fails to his own.

  • Dawood on October 3, 2007, 4:42 GMT

    I dont know if we are actually dumb or do we act to be, i simpily dont understand the tendency of people to look at reactions and decide, where as the right way is to see the root cause!! (the actions that caused the reaction!!!) Does any one remember how the decission was given??? The question is that how would you like to be called cheats when you havnt done anything!!! Some things are suppose to be felt rather than going by the book, that is probably the difference between Administration & Finanace Departments and HR departments!!!

  • Nathan on October 2, 2007, 23:55 GMT

    The bottom line in this affair is the precedent that has been set. Umpires, you must make decisions that players and administrators from the sub continent agree with, and if you don't, your career will be terminated. Forget about the rules and about umpires supposedly being in charge of the game, their primary role now seems to be appeasement of the Asian countries. And how can the whole affair not be deemed racist? Two umpires were involved, one black, one white. The white umpire has his career and reputation shattered, the black umpire continues on as if nothing happened. To deny that race played a role in this is to be disingenous in the extreme.

  • Vijay on October 2, 2007, 14:03 GMT

    Even though cricket needs 24 people 11 from 2 teams and 2 umpires, there are fans who make these events big, pay money which in return goes to playes and umpires and boards.

    It is responsibility of all above listed people to repay back to the fans.

    Hair is not only responsible to award the match without real results but also warning the Pakistan team about this if they don't take the field.

    Where will be all cricket stars, umpires and all boards including ICC if they don't have us? (Cricket fans)

    We don't care if this was a match in some once back yard. We spent time & money and wait till end to see the results of the game not some one's decision.

    In the interest of public and fans ICC and all boards should make every possible effort to get the results of the match.

  • Monirul on October 2, 2007, 14:00 GMT

    To be become an international umpire and especially to be in the elite panel, it requires more than just going by rules, which Hair clearly lacks. If 'going by the rules' is the only requirement to become an elite panel umpire then the list of elite panel umpires would have been thousands, if not millions! I'm sorry, can't agree with this going by the rule theory.

  • Stephen on October 2, 2007, 13:21 GMT

    Consider the ICC official judgement exonerating the Pakistan team of ball tampering.

    All six ICC officials appointed to the game were in unanimous agreement that the ball had been altered in an illegal fashion. The Defense's three "expert" witnesses (of which none had any official standing) all said the ball was as likely tampered, as it was not. In fact the defense could not produce a single person to testify that they honestly believed the ball was not tampered. Even Mr. Mudagalle, the ICC appointed Adjudicator, had to admit the ball was as likely illegal, as it was legal.

    And yet Mr. Mudagalle somehow manages to find that the ball was not tampered. That every single ICC official appointed to the game being in unanimous agreement the laws were violated constitutes insufficient grounds to issue the Pakistan team a warning. (Under Law 42.3(e), the five run penalty is the warning.)

    Whoever it is the ICC serves, it is neither justice nor the best interests of the game.

  • abhijeet on October 2, 2007, 11:34 GMT

    I think before discussing 'racism' on the part of Asian Bloc or Hair, bloggers need to introspect a bit. Two themes keep coming up all the time from pro-Hair, pro-law, 'Aussie' bloc.

    First is ICC making changes to chucking rules to accomodate Murli. The fact is that all bowlers including Glenn Mcgrath were found to 'chuck' a bit according to the laws then (source : http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/srilanka/content/story/141940.html). Second is that Hair followed the rules. I agree that he was absolutely right in awarding the Oval test to England since Pakistan had forfeited the match whatever the reasons be. However he was wrong in penalizing Pakistan for ball-tempering. It was a terrible decision without any basis whatsoever and I think its fair to fire a guy for such negligence.

    I want to write about 'pro-Asia', Anti-Hair block too but I am almost over word limit.So I guess I will put it in next comment. Comments from civil, rational people are most welcome....

  • LN on October 2, 2007, 10:24 GMT

    Mr Hair is a top international umpire and respected throughout. His decisions have been fair and correct, it is only Pakistan that has to be blamed, only pakistanis refused to come out and play, what else was the umpire supposed to do? wait till until the pakistanis felt like coming out and play? No. definitly NOT!.

  • james on October 2, 2007, 10:05 GMT

    I do feel for Hairs position but cannot deny that he appears to have handled the whole situation during the "calling off" of the Test in an over zealous way when a equitable solution could have been arrived at. Equally Pakistan's behaviour, rightly or wrongly accused (who will ever know for sure?), was immature and typically hotheaded - traits which effect their brilliant talent in the wider field. This is all against a backdrop of general suspicion of the Pakistan and Asian way of playing cricket...It is an open secret in most cricket cirles that ball tampering does go on - cheating if you will - but is that any worse than Shane Warne appealing for an LBW decision he absolutely knows to be not out according the laws of the game? Its a tricky and highly complex immotive issue - but the game of cricket is richer for its diversity and in many respects ball tampering, gaining incorrect decisions and dodgy bowling actions add to the rich human nature of the game and long may it continue!

  • Ross on October 2, 2007, 9:45 GMT

    To all those supporting the sacking of Mr Hair by the ICC by saying he acted alone I ask you this. What are the criteria needed to be selected to the ICC Elite panel. I don't think that you are appointed if you have no high level umpiring experience. To claim the second umpire was in awe is just making excuses for a travesty. Both field umpires have to agree to the forfeit, Pakistan knew the rules yet chose to ignore them. Either both umpires were wrong and should have been sacked or they were right and both should still be working. Yes Mr hair may be a bit gruff in manner on the field but that is not a reason to sack him. People use the no-ball calls for chucking he made on Murali as justification. His action was only deemed satisfactory when the rules were changed. At the time of the call he was bowling some balls with an illegal action. The ICC is wrong in this case.

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