Cricket race hearing gets underway

Controversial cricket umpire Darrell Hair’s race discrimination claims against the International Cricket Council (ICC) will be heard in the London Central Employment Tribunal on Monday (1 October).

Hair is the Australian umpire who unleashed a firestorm last year when he accused the Pakistani team of ball-tampering during the fourth day of the fourth test match against England at The Oval. England were awarded five penalty runs, after which the Pakistanis decided not to return to the field after tea in protest at the decision. Hair and fellow umpire Billy Doctrove awarded the match to England.

After allegations that Hair was racist and the ICC’s own ruling that no ball-tampering had taken place, in November the ICC banned Hair from officiating in international matches, although he remains a member of its elite board or umpires.

Hair in turn has accused the ICC of racism and filed a claim against it in February on the basis that Doctrove – who is black – had no penalties imposed upon him by the ICC (www.thelawyer.com, 8 February). Hair argues that the decision of ball-tampering was one reached jointly by him and Doctrove. It is understood that Hair is seeking $4m (£1.98m) in damages.

Hair has instructed Finers Stephens Innocent on his case, with head of employment Carolyn Brown leading. She has instructed Robert Griffiths QC of 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square.

The ICC is advised by Lewis Silkin, with head of employment Michael Burd leading. Burd has instructed Michael Beloff QC of Blackstone Chambers.

The case is due to be heard publicly in a two-week hearing with 21 witnesses slated to appear, both in person and via a video link-up, including all of the ICC’s board members. Sources close to the case say there is little chance of any settlement before Monday.

One witness is Inzamam-ul-Haq, the former Pakistani captain and DLA Piper client. Summons were served to him on 21 September.