Former Test Cricket umpire John Holder is suing the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) over allegations of racial discrimination during the time in which he worked for the board. The legal claim that is lodged follows after Holder, and another former umpire Ismail Dawood, accused made accusations of “institutionalised racism”.
A first-class umpire between 1983 and 2009, Holder related it to his employment, where he became the most notable Black British umpire in England cricket. He (Holder) claims that he was discriminated against on the grounds of race, with his - and Dawood’s - concerns over the fact that no non-white umpires have been appointed to the first-class list since 1992. In November they both asked for an independent investigation from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
The ECB, who have promised to implement a range of changes, has produced its own report - Racial Equality in Cricket - which has stated that 58% of those consulted believed racism existed in English cricket. Holder and Dawood said that the ECB has “systematically failed to adopt these recommendations”. Holder has also highlighted that his application for a role as an ECB mentor after he retired in 2009 received no response.
“As with all areas of our game, we want our match officials to represent and reflect everyone who supports and plays cricket. Therefore, we announced that we would re‑evaluate the way in which we attract, develop and performance manage our match officials, in order to increase the diversity of our officiating, inspire the next generation of umpires and match referees and ensure a culture of inclusivity and fairness throughout.
“Aligned with this process, 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.”
The last state-educated Black cricketer to make a Test debut for England was Michael Carberry in 2010. Carberry has also spoken out on institutional racism in English cricket.
An ECB spokesperson reportedly 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.