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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 August 2006, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
Hair 'could stay' as Test umpire
ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed
I've spoken to Darrell - I've tried to deal with it as sensitively as possible, but it's a difficult issue

Malcolm Speed
Darrell Hair could still have a future as an international umpire despite offering to resign in exchange for a $500,000 pay-off.

Hair made the offer in the wake of the ball-tampering row at last week's England v Pakistan Test at The Oval.

He later withdrew it, but the ICC plans to discuss the matter further at a meeting in Dubai next weekend.

Despite that, ICC chief Malcolm Speed told the BBC he hoped Hair would be able to continue his career.

He dismissed suggestions that his fellow Australian would be "hung out to dry" and said: "Darrell Hair is one of our best umpires - he's one of the best two or three in the world. He's a very dedicated man, he's devoted to umpiring - that's been his life's passion.

"We need to let some water flow under the bridge. We have a meeting of the ICC Board in Dubai next Saturday, we'll have had some further legal advice about all of these issues by then and hopefully we'll be able to move forward some othese difficult questions."

The Pakistan Cricket Board will certainly oppose Hair being retained on the ICC's elite list, heaving previously submitted a written request that he no longer be allowed to officiate in games involving their team.

It follows the decision of Hair and Billy Doctrove to award a five-run penalty against them at The Oval for allegedly tampering with the ball.

The Pakistan team protested by initially staying in their dressing room after tea on the fourth afternoon and the game was awarded to England by forfeit.

Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq was later charged with bringing the game into disrepute and ball-tampering because he is deemed responsible for the actions of his players.

Nothing has been heard from Doctrove since the end of the match, but Speed said he was fully supportive of Hair.

"When these charges come before the adjudicator, Billy will be giving evidence. He's been interviewed by ICC's lawyers and made a statement about it.

"The focus has been on Darrell, it's not been on Billy. He's quiet and retiring, I don't think we'll see Billy popping up to make media statements."

Speed said it would have been wrong for the ICC to try and keep Hair's e-mail out of the public domain.

"Darrell sent it to his line manager Doug Cowie, the umpire and referees' manager. He doesn't have authority to hand out $500,000, to keep it secret, to mislead the public, to keep it out of ICC's audit, to keep it out of ICC's annual reports of which we distribute 5,000 copies.

"It had to go somewhere else. It had to go to David Richardson, to whom Doug reports, and David then had to refer it to me," he added.

"It's been a bad week for cricket, but I hope the proper process can be followed and we can put this behind us."

SEE ALSO
Team vindicated, Pakistanis say
26 Aug 06 |  South Asia
Full text of Darrell Hair e-mail
25 Aug 06 |  Cricket
Ball-tampering row saddens Bird
25 Aug 06 |  Cricket
Inzamam case off until September
25 Aug 06 |  England
How Hair courts controversy
21 Aug 06 |  England


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