Pakistan rejects Hair's race bias claims

Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2007, 18:07 [IST]
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Karachi: The Pakistan Cricket Board Tuesday dismissed Australian umpire Darrell Hair's claim that he was prevented from officiating in top matches because of racial discrimination by the game's global body.

Hair is suing the International Cricket Council (ICC), telling a tribunal in London on Monday that he was kept out of big games to appease non-white cricketing countries.

He alleges the discrimination followed his joint decision with fellow umpire Billy Doctrove of the West Indies to penalise Pakistan for ball-tampering in the fourth Test against England at The Oval in August 2006.

"Hair's charges are incorrect and since this is a case against the ICC all the Test playing members can testify and I am also ready to go to London," PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf told reporters.

"There was no racial discrimination involved and it was a board decision against Hair," said Ashraf of the ICC board's decision taken in November last year in Mumbai.

So enraged were Pakistan by the Oval Test penalty that they refused to take the field immediately after tea.

By the time they were ready to play the umpires ruled they had forfeited the match -- the first and so far only time this has happened in Test cricket history.

Then-captain Inzamam-ul Haq was cleared of the tampering charges but he was banned for four one-day matches for bringing the game into disrepute.

Hair, 55, says that since taking that decision the ICC have caved into pressure, primarily from cricket's Asian bloc (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) to deny him the chance to continue to stand in major international matches.

Hair's lawyer Robert Griffiths also claimed there had been a "Watergate" style cover-up of an ICC Board meeting attended by Ashraf last November.

He said that part of a tape-recording of this meeting, at which it was decided that Hair should not continue to umpire at the highest level, had gone missing -- a claim denied by Ashraf.

"I was part of that three-member meeting and there was no tape. This is not correct," said Ashraf.

He also denied reports of Inzamam being summoned by the employment tribunal where Hair is seeking damages.

"I have no knowledge of Inzamam being summoned, neither he has contacted the PCB. Inzamam is not a British citizen and he is not obliged. But if he wants he can go and testify. The PCB will certainly testify."

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