Two former umpires have accused the England and Wales Cricket Board of ‘institutionalised racism’.
John Holder, who officiated in Test and one-day international matches, made the allegations on the basis of not receiving a reply from the ECB when offering to be a mentor, describing it as ‘more than suspicious’.
He added that several non-white umpires have made similar requests and none have progressed.
‘I have absolutely no trust or confidence in the ECB,’ Dawood told BBC Sport. ‘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 organisation that is a complete mess? No. In one performance review, I was told: “Fine judgements must be made about who best fits in.”
‘The complaints we have made shows the institutionalised, structured racism as well as discrimination, cronyism, bullying and dishonesty that has been part of our lives being involved in the ECB.’
The pair have asked for an independent investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) ‘to challenge organisations 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.
The ECB issued a rebuttal saying: ‘We will not tolerate racism. Since 2015 we have made real progress across many areas to become a more inclusive and diverse sport, including implementing our targeted action plan to engage South Asian communities, introducing the Rooney Rule for elite coaching appointments and providing training for staff and reforming the way we recruit.
‘Equality is at the heart of our game-wide strategic plan, Inspiring Generations, which is designed to make cricket a game for everyone. However, we fully recognise we have a long way to go to drive out discrimination from our sport. Alongside the learnings and the action we have already taken in this space through this summer, the ECB holds its November board meeting next week, where our continued work around inclusion and diversity will be discussed and further actions agreed.’
A clutch of current and former players have made allegations of rampant racism in the game in England, many of which the ECB and/or clubs are investigating.