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ICC denies racial bias against umpire Hair

09 February, 2007

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DUBAI: The International Cricket Council (ICC) Thursday said there was no "merit" in sacked umpire Darrell Hair's claim that he was subjected to racial discrimination.

The world governing body also said that it would "vigorously defend" the charge of the England-based Australian official if he actually sues the ICC and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) as he threatened to on Wednesday.

"ICC has noted reports that umpire Darrell Hair has instructed his lawyers to issue an application to the London Central Employment Tribunal alleging racial discrimination by ICC and PCB," ICC said, reacting to media reports.

"The ICC does not believe there is merit in this claim and will vigorously defend the matter," it said in a statement issued from its headquarters here.

Hair's decision to sue comes after the ICC sacked him following his awarding the fourth England-Pakistan Test at London in August last year to England.

He awarded the match to England after the Pakistani team delayed taking the field after a tea interval. The Australian had penalised the Inzamam-ul-Haq-led side five runs for alleged ball tampering and changing of the ball.

Pakistan, which lost the four-match series 0-3, vehemently denied that it had tampered with the ball.

It was the first Test to be awarded in the entire 129-year history of Test cricket.

Inzamam was charged for "bringing the game into disrepute" and the team for "changing the condition of the ball". Following an ICC enquiry, the team was exonerated of the ball tampering charges but the captain was banned for four one-day internationals.

ICC later terminated its contract with Hair and dropped him from the Elite Panel of umpires.

ICC said Thursday that it would not comment any further on the issue.

"Given the ongoing nature of proceedings, the ICC will not be making any further comment on the issue at this stage," it said.

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