Former Test umpire and Hampshire cricketer John Holder is among those who have called for an independent investigation into the lack of non-white match officials in English cricket. While right-handed batsman Holder was a professional referee for nearly 30 years, he is now concerned that no non-white referees have been appointed to the top-tier list in the past 28 years. Holder has called for an independent investigation and accused the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) of “years of racism”.
“I’ve lived in England for 56 years. And I can tell you warmly, I’ve never experienced racism. But when you look at these numbers when you understand what’s going on, it’s hard to reach another Conclusion, “ESPNcricinfo quoted John Holder.
“When I stopped working for the ICC, I contacted the ECB to offer my services to mentor referees. I didn’t even get a response. Instead, ex-players, some of whom have never stood as referees, were replaced. appointed for the role. That’s ridiculous. It’s like hiring someone who can’t drive to become a driving instructor, “he added.
According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, a high-ranking member of the ECB’s staff was recently suspended over racial discrimination claims, but is cleared of misconduct and is expected to return to work soon.
“I suspect there has been a clear policy of only hiring whites for this position. There must be a transparent policy regarding the selection, training and coaching of referees, which currently does not exist,” said John.
Meanwhile, the ECB has responded to ESPNcricinfo with a statement. It said: “The current group of professional referees does not reflect the diverse ECB that we are determined to be. We want more BAME representation among our officials and recognize that we still have a long way to go to achieve this.
“Earlier this year, we commissioned a fully independent labor investigation into allegations against an individual, and while these were not accepted, the investigation did identify areas where we need to be better and do more to be inclusive and diverse,” said ESPNcricinfo. say in a statement.
“The ECB has now commissioned a review, with Council oversight, to look at how we can reform our approach to managing match officials. This will outline actions to improve our systems and processes to improve the diversity of referees. The next generation of umpires and match umpires, have a world-class umpire program and ensure a culture of inclusiveness and fairness throughout the umpire system, “it added.
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