The former Test umpire John Holder has sued the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) over alleged racial discrimination. Holder has lodged his complaint at the London central office of the employment tribunal on December 23. He is one of the most notable Black British umpires in English cricket. The legal action against the ECB relates to his employment as a first‑class umpire between 1983 and 2009.
The 75-year-old former umpire used to play for Hampshire County before being appointed to the first-class umpiring panel in 1983. He was elevated to internationals in 1988 where he stood in 11 Tests and 19 One Day Internationals. Holder was dropped from the ECB’s Test match list in 1991, a few weeks after he reported an incident of alleged ball-tampering by an England player in a Test against West Indies.
Holder has subsequently accused ECB for overlooking non-white candidates. He said, “I’ve lived in England for 56 years and I have never experienced racism before but when you look at these figures, when you understand what is going on. When I stopped working for the ICC, I contacted the ECB to offer my services to mentor umpires and instead of me, some of whom have never stood as umpires, were appointed to the role.”
Holder has one more umpire that is related to him as a claimant called Ismail Dawood, a former first-class cricketer and reserve umpire. Dawood has represented four counties during an 11-year playing career. The duo umpires are seeking compensation and a recommendation on the ECB’s future conduct under Section 123 (3) (b) of the 2010 Equality Act.
In response to the legal action, ECB 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.”