John Holder sues ECB over alleged racial discrimination
Holder and Ismail Dawood previously called for inquiry into lack of non-white umpires in English game
John Holder, the former Test and county umpire, has reportedly lodged a claim against the ECB over alleged racial discrimination during his time in the board's employment. As revealed by ESPNcricinfo last month, Holder and Ismail Dawood, who was on the ECB's reserve umpire list until 2014, have previously accused the ECB of "years of racism" and called for an independent inquiry into the lack of non-white officials in the English game.
They have now gone a step further, according to a report in the Guardian, and are suing the ECB under the 2010 Equality Act, seeking compensation and a recommendation from the employment tribunal on the governing body's future conduct.
Holder, 75, played for Hampshire before being appointed to the first-class umpiring panel in 1983. He was elevated to internationals in 1988, umpiring in 11 Tests and 19 ODIs, and continuing to officiate in county games until 2009.
The ECB has been accused of subsequently overlooking non-white candidates. The last non-white appointment to the first-class list was Vanburn Holder in 1992.
"I've lived in England for 56 years," John Holder told ESPNcricinfo. "And I can tell you, hand on heart, I have never experienced racism before. But when you look at these figures, when you understand what is going on, it is hard to reach any other conclusion.
"When I stopped working for the ICC, I contacted the ECB to offer my services to mentor umpires. I didn't even get a reply. Instead, ex-players, some of whom have never stood as umpires, were appointed to the role. That is ludicrous. It's like employing someone who can't drive to be a driving instructor."
Dawood, who represented four counties during an 11-year playing career, claims he was overlooked for promotion despite being rated a "sound, technical umpire".
In response to ESPNcricinfo's story in November, the ECB announced that it had commissioned a review into the management of match officials aimed at ensuring increased diversity.
In response to the legal action, an ECB statement 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."