Two former umpires accuse ECB of ‘institutional racism’

Two former umpires accuse ECB of ‘institutional racism’
Ismail Dawood (L) and John Holder.
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Updated 18 November 2020

Two former umpires accuse ECB of ‘institutional racism’

Two former umpires accuse ECB of ‘institutional racism’
  • Dawood and Holder call for independent probe by Equality and Human Rights Commission

LONDON: Two former umpires have accused the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) of institutional racism and called for an independent investigation by the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
John Holder, who stood in 11 Tests and 19 one-day internationals in nearly 30 years as a professional umpire, and Ismail Dawood, who stood on the ECB reserve list and umpired first-class matches, said it was vital to have an inquiry “to challenge organizations like the ECB.”

The last Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) umpire to be added to the ECB’s first-class list was Vanburn Holder 28 years ago. There have been none since his retirement in 2010.

An ECB spokesman told the BBC it wanted a more diverse ethnic makeup on their umpires panel but it was some way off from happening.

“Today’s group of professional umpires don’t reflect the diverse ECB we are determined to be,” he said.

“We want to see more BAME representation among our officials, and recognize we still have a long way to go as a game to achieve this.”

Holder, who played county cricket for Hampshire from 1968-72, claimed people from minority ethnic backgrounds were not being given a chance when they put their name forward to be appointed to the first-class panel.

“I have no reason to doubt that there is,” the 75-year-old Barbados-born Holder replied when asked if he believed there is institutionalized racism at the ECB.

“Several non-white umpires have made enquiries about going on the first-class umpires panel, or becoming a mentor or liaison officer, and none have progressed.”

Dawood, who played first-class cricket for three counties including Yorkshire, said he had no faith in the ECB.

“I have absolutely no trust or confidence in the ECB,” he said.

“All the way down to the grassroots it is a complete mess and that is why we need it to be investigated.

“Do I want to be part of an organization that is a complete mess? No.

“In one performance review, I was told: ‘Fine judgments must be made about who best fits in’.”

Dawood said the only way to spark reform within the ECB was for an independent investigation.

“We implore the EHRC to look into the structures of the ECB and put them under investigation,” he said.

“They need to challenge organizations like the ECB to act, we don’t want words, we have had lots of words, we want action.”

The ECB said in a statement they were putting in place a review to see how they could increase BAME representation.

“The ECB has now commissioned a review, with board oversight, to look at how we can reform our approach to managing match officials,” read the statement.

“This will set out actions as to how we can improve our systems and processes to increase the diversity of umpiring, inspire the next generation of umpires and match referees, have a world-class umpiring program and ensure a culture of inclusivity and fairness throughout the umpiring system.”


DeChambeau: Power gives him advantage for Saudi International

DeChambeau: Power gives him advantage for Saudi International
Updated 19 January 2021

DeChambeau: Power gives him advantage for Saudi International

DeChambeau: Power gives him advantage for Saudi International
  • Physically transformed 2020 US Open champion relishing head-to-head with World No. 1 Dustin Johnson

JEDDAH: Big-hitting Bryson DeChambeau believes the length of Royal Greens Golf & Country Club’s tee-to-green puts him in prime position to pip world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and claim victory at next month’s Saudi International.

The 2020 US Open champion, famed worldwide for his colossal tee shots, the longest in Tour history, is King Abdullah Economic City-bound for his second crack at taking the Saudi crown that alluded him in 2019.

He was pipped to the title by Johnson, who returns alongside the biggest names in golf for the third annual hosting of the European Tour event next month.

However, 27-year-old DeChambeau heads to the Kingdom a different golfer this year, having not only transformed his physique and game to out-drive all other professional players, but as a Major champion, after clinching the US Open back in September.

He believes these two factors could prove critical in his quest for first place in two weeks’ time.

He said: “I feel like I have an even better advantage on the golf course because it is a bit of a bomber’s paradise, and I love that opportunity.

“When I played there, I finished sixth. I have a lot of great memories about the golf course and the character of the holes and being on the Red Sea, it was pretty unique and something that I want to experience again.

“I will tell you, though, that hitting it far there will be an advantage with some of the par 5s and I think it will fit me well, a lot better than the other golf courses.”

Much of the build-up around November’s delayed hosting of the Masters was focused on DeChambeau and how the Augusta course suited his big-hitting style of play.

However, it was to be his 2018 Ryder Cup teammate Johnson who eventually came out on top, further cementing his position as the world’s best. The fact that he will be teeing off against “DJ” next month is something that only adds to the excitement for DeChambeau, as he continues on his own mission to one day achieve top spot in World Golf rankings.

“Having a world No. 1 playing puts a little fire in my belly,” said DeChambeau. “I want to go over there and play and beat him. I was fortunate enough to clip him by one or two in Kapalua and if I keep doing that, if I keep beating him in every event, eventually the tables will turn.”

In his quest to be the world’s best, DeChambeau has famously reworked his entire game — and physique. In 2020 alone he gained 40 pounds to build his strength, and as a result extended his length off the tee by anywhere from 30 to 70 yards.

Although the tournament will be held without fans due to coronavirus disease restrictions, it will be shown live on KSA Sports, and DeChambeau is gearing up to show the Kingdom exactly what he has been working towards.