Former international umpire accuses ECB of racism

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Former Test Cricket Umpire John Holder

Former Test umpire, John Holder, is calling for an independent inquiry into the lack of non-white match officials in England cricket and has accused the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) of institutionalised racism. 

Holder, a resident in Britain for almost three decades and a professional umpire, expressed concerns that no non-white umpires have been appointed to the first-class list since 1992. The Barbadian also claimed there has never been a non-white Pitch Laison Officer, Cricket Laison Officer, Match Referee, Umpires mentor or Umpire Coach. 

Holder accused the ECB of years of racism and called for an independent Queen’s Counsel-led investigation and an investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commision. 

Former Barbados and West Indies fast bowler, Vanburn Holder who retired at the end of the 2010 season, was the last non-white umpire on the ECB First Class list. He was also the last appointed to that list since 1992.  Numerous non-white candidates have expressed an interest in the profession including high profile figures such as Devon Malcolm, but none have progressed. 

The ECB issued a statement in response to Holder’s allegation which read: “Today’s group of professional umpires don’t reflect the diverse ECB we are determined to be. We want to see more BAME representation among our officials and recognise we still have a long way to go to achieve this.”