Darrell Hair tribunal, 3rd day October 3, 2007

'Mudslinger' Hair accused of blackmailing ICC

Cricinfo staff

Darrell Hair arrives at the London Central Employment Tribunal © Getty Images
Darrell Hair was branded a mudslinger who tried to blackmail the ICC into receiving a financial settlement, a London tribunal heard today.

Hair, the Australian umpire, is suing his employers, the ICC, for racial discrimination following the Oval Test against Pakistan in 2006. He claims that his colleague in the Test, Billy Doctrove, was treated differently by the ICC because of the colour of his skin.

The ICC's barrister, Michael Beloff QC, told the third day of the hearing that much of Hair's evidence was irrelevant to the case. Earlier, Hair had described a phone call in which Rudi Koertzen, the South African umpire, had referred to the Pakistan team as cheats. "It is sheer mudslinging," Beloff said. "What you were hoping to do was cause the ICC maximum embarrassment and cajole them into making some sort of offer to you."

Beloff then turned to the emails Hair sent - emails which he himself said he regretted sending - in which he offered to resign for a one-off payment of US$500,000. "I suggest that this is an example of you saying 'if you don't accept the offer, I am going to make all sorts of allegations around the racism issue'," Beloff said. "It was blackmail, wasn't it?" Hair denied the charge.

I would do exactly the same thing again ... the umpires cannot allow unfair play, and I felt unfair play was taking place

Darrell Hair on the Oval Test

He also said that the ICC officials were unhappy at the way the Oval Test had finished. "I felt extremely disappointed that a match should end that way ... there were four umpires in the dressing room [after the match], and there was a sombre mood ... disappointment that a team could go that far with a protest."

Beloff then suggested that Pakistan were not refusing to play but staging a temporary protest. Hair replied that nothing existed in the Laws of Cricket to allow for a protest against the action of the umpire, adding he had no regrets.

"I would do exactly the same thing again," he said. "The umpires cannot allow unfair play, and I felt unfair play was taking place."

The case, which is already running behind schedule, is expected to last beyond the estimated two weeks.