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October 9, 2007
The surprise announcement came on the seventh day of the tribunal at the London Central Employment Tribunal. An ICC spokesman confirmed to Cricinfo that there had been no agreement made with Hair and that the decision was "unconditional".
"Darrell Hair withdraws his allegation of racial discrimination against the ICC board, members and staff," Robert Griffiths QC, Hair's barrister, told the media. "Mr Hair has undertaken to work with ICC management in accordance with the rehabilitation programme over the next six months."
Hair is contracted to the ICC until March 2008 but Cricinfo has learned that he then has to be given 12 months notice, so in effect he remains an employee until March 2009. He will continue to umpire international matches, but not those involving Test-playing countries. The ICC board will meet in March to discuss the results of Hair's rehabilitation and decide whether he can return to elite umpiring, and if so, on what terms.
"This is really about getting back to umpiring top cricket matches," said Mr Hair's solicitor, Paul Gilbert. "Darrell feels relieved and glad it's all over, and he does feel this is in the best interests of all parties. What we have now is a future for Darrell that leads to the possibility of his return to top-level umpiring."
"We are pleased the issue has been resolved," Ray Mali, the ICC's interim president, said. "We had no option but to defend these serious allegations."
"I'm very pleased that this claim has been unconditionally withdrawn," Malcolm Speed, the ICC's chief executive, told the BBC. "I think in six months we'll have a better idea [about his future as an umpire], it's a matter for the board, which is a very diverse group generally with strong and differing groups, so a lot will depend on the rehabilitation programme and his attitude towards it.
"For the next six months he will umpire matches at Associate level. I can't speculate as to whether he will return to umpiring Full-Member matches or not"
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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