The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is being sued by former umpires John Holder and Ismail Dawood over alleged racial discrimination.

The pair said in November there was “institutionalised racism” within the organisation.

They are seeking compensation and a recommendation on the ECB’s future conduct under the 2010 Equality Act.

The ECB said it was unaware of the claim but committed to tackling discrimination.

The governing body added: “We have been arranging to meet with John Holder and others to listen to their experiences so as to better inform our future approach to recruiting and developing umpires and match officials.”

Holder, 75, umpired in first-class cricket in England between 1982 and 2009, and also officiated in Test and one-day international matches in the UK and abroad, before working as an umpires’ performance manager for the International Cricket Council.

The former Hampshire seamer said in November it looked “more than suspicious” he had not received a reply from the ECB when offering to be a mentor on his retirement from umpiring.

Dawood, 44, who played as a wicketkeeper for four counties before turning to umpiring, said he had heard racist language used in front of senior ECB staff, which went unchallenged.

Last month, the pair asked for an independent investigation into the organisation from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

Addressing those claims in November, the ECB said it had commissioned a full independent employment investigation into “allegations made against an individual” that were not upheld, although “the investigation did identify areas where we need to be better and do more to be inclusive and diverse”.

As a result, it said, it had “commissioned a review, with board oversight, to look at how we can reform our approach to managing match officials” that would help it to “ensure a culture of inclusivity and fairness throughout the umpiring system”.

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