Former Australian umpire Dick French apprehends an early end to controversial umpire Darrell Hair's career in case the Asian countries unite to demand his ban from matches involving teams from the Indian sub-continent.
French, Hair's mentor and now on Cricket Australia's umpire selection panel, fears Asian countries - Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh - could get together to have the 53-year-old Australian sidelined.
"I had thought of that and it's a tricky one," said French, who stood in 19 Tests and 57 limited-overs internationals in Australia in the 1970s and 1980s.
"If the Asian bloc gangs up against him and says `We don't want him appointed in our games', there might be trouble. He can't umpire Australia as a neutral so he can't then just umpire South Africa, the West Indies and England for the rest of his career.
"So that's a tough one for the authorities," he said.
French defended Hair saying his protege never had a bias against countries from the sub-continent.
"There is no allegation of bias or racism, not at all. There's nothing like that. Maybe it's all an unfortunate coincidence," French was quoted as saying by the Australian Associated Press.
French asserted that Hair was highly respected in the umpiring fraternity and a role model for young umpires.
"He rates right up the top. He will be someone the young umpires look up to, and he is a role model, and the young umpires in New South Wales look up to him and Simon Taufel, who's also from the same state," he said.