UK: Just Not Cricket

Last Updated: 3 January 2008
Article by Will Nash and Nick Hurley

Nick Hurley is a partner and Will Nash a solicitor in Charles Russell LLP's employment and sports group.

Reconciliation or sell out? Nick Hurley and Will Nash review the collapse of Darrell Hair's discrimination claim.

In Brief

Hair's QC argued that he was treated less favourablly because of his race and that the ICC was therefore liablie under the Race Relations Act, ss 1(1) and 3A.

The ICC is reported to have spent £250,000 defending the claim.

Hair can hope to return to top level umpiring with the added bonus of the protection under RRA 1976 up his sleeve.

The recent collapse of cricket umpire Darrell Hair's discrimination claim was as surprising as it was well publicised. Umpire Hair's high profile in the international cricketing world resulted in his tribunal claim receiving broad coverage across the international media. Cricket took a rare centre stage in the world of sport following Hair's claim that he was discriminated against by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on the grounds of his race and colour.

Hair's problems started with the forfeited test match between England and Pakistan in August 2006. Pakistan was accused of tampering with the ball by the two umpires officiating the match, Hair and Billy Doctrove, and deducted five runs as a penalty. Pakistan refused to play on. After much confusion, the umpires removed the bails and awarded a win to England. An investigation by the ICC followed and Hair was effectively barred from officiating in main Test matches. Doctrove continued to umpire at the highest level, apparently with no reprimand or sanction.

Alleged Discriminatory Pressure

Hair brought tribunal proceedings against the ICC. He contended that while he, a white Australian, had been severely punished for the episode, Doctrove, a black West Indian, had escaped all censure. Hair argued that his competence as an umpire had never been questioned, and that race discrimination was the only possible explanation for his effective suspension. The ICC stated that the reason why Hair was barred from officiating at the highest level was not his race, rather that the ICC had lost confidence in him due to concerns raised about his judgment and umpiring.

The six-day hearing of the race discrimination claim at the London Central Tribunal heard in Hair's evidence how the ICC had yielded to "racially discriminatory pressure" applied by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). Hair's QC, Robert Griffiths, contended that Hair was treated less favourably by the ICC than Doctrove due to his race and the ICC was therefore liable under the Race Relations Act 1976 (RRA 1976), ss 1(1) and 3A. The PCB allegedly placed pressure on the ICC to remove Hair from umpiring elite cricket matches, while no such action was apparently taken in respect of Doctrove. The failure of Doctrove, the obvious comparator in the claim, to appear as a witness for Hair caused speculation that Doctrove had safeguarded his future career by succumbing to ICC pressure not to appear. In any event, Doctrove's non-attendance clearly can not have helped Hair's case.


Hair claimed damages for loss of earnings of $3.5m (£1.75m). Hair justified this sum on the basis of his age and lack of future prospects of suitable alternative employment. It would have been interesting to learn of the tribunal's verdict on such an argument. Hair is 55 and has been umpiring first class cricket since 1988 and umpired his first Test match in 1992. One can see merit in the argument that it would be difficult to imagine an employee in such a specific profession being able to find alternative employment with comparable remuneration.

As was widely publicised, Hair offered his resignation in exchange for $500,000 (£254,500) soon after the August 2006 Test match. However, he immediately retracted the offer following adverse publicity and it emerged that both sides were extracting themselves for a tribunal hearing. As Malcolm Speed, the ICC chief executive said "we had absolutely no alternative but to defend this vigorously". It is interesting to surmise how seriously the ICC considered settling the matter before the hearing. Cricket is a sport, unlike football for example, not blessed with unlimited riches. The estimated cost of defending the claim was reported as £250,000, almost exactly equivalent to Hair's opening offer. Confidentiality, of course, is a common condition in the settlement of discrimination claims but would seem to play little part in this case, given the amount of information already in the public domain. As Hair has apparently withdrawn all claims without compensation, prolonging his international umpiring career would now appear to be his priority.

Not Out

With this in mind, the withdrawal of Hair's claims can be seen as a possible reconciliation between Hair and the ICC, rather than simply a capitulation on the umpire's part. Hair clearly hopes to officiate at the highest level again and, furthermore, is protected by RRA 1976, s 2, which prevents him from being victimised by the ICC because he has brought a discrimination claim against it. Such protection remains even if it is found that the substantive allegations of discrimination do not stand up provided Hair brings his claim in good faith.

Hair has promised to enter into a "rehabilitation" programme to be drawn up by the ICC to improve his man-management and communication skills. It therefore seems a real possibility that despite the controversy surrounding the case, Hair's career is, metaphorically speaking, "not out". Indeed, he can move forward with the hope of a return to top level umpiring and with the added bonus of the protection under RRA 1976 up his sleeve.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Nick Hurley
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.