'Hair didn't discuss financial offer'

Responding to the umpire's statement, ICC confirmed that he only discussed the future of his umpiring career.

india Updated: Aug 28, 2006 17:30 IST

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has said it never discussed a financial offer with umpire Darrell Hair following the Pakistan ball-tampering row.

Australian Hair, at the centre of last week's controversy when Pakistan forfeited the final Test against England after being penalised for alleged ball tampering, said on Sunday he was encouraged by the ICC to make an offer to quit.

Hair was responding after ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said he requested $500,000 as a one-off payment to quit the ruling body's elite panel of umpires during discussions with ICC umpires' manager Doug Cowie.

The ICC, responding to Hair's statement, confirmed that Hair only discussed the future of his umpiring career with Cowie before sending him an email on Tuesday.

"There were many informal discussions between Mr Hair and Mr Cowie between the end of the Oval Test and Mr Hair's first email on Tuesday, including a discussion on the potential impact on Mr Hair's umpiring career," an ICC spokesman said in a statement released late on Sunday.

"Mr Cowie's role was to support and counsel Mr Hair, as his manager, at a difficult time and it is our understanding that at no stage during their conversations was there any discussion of a pay-off, nor secrecy, nor deadlines, nor misleading the public regarding reasons for retirement, all of which were subsequently laid out in Mr Hair's email."

The spokesman said no other ICC staff member discussed any of these issues with Hair during the period in question.

"We have no desire to be in conflict with Mr Hair," the spokesman said.

Hair has been heavily criticised, particularly in the sub-continent due to his past conflicts with Asian teams. Pakistan have demanded that he should not officiate in any of their future matches.

His future as an international umpire was thrown into doubt by Speed's revelation.

Hair has said his decision, subsequently withdrawn, "wasn't a spur of the moment thing", and his lawyers released a statement on Sunday.

"I was encouraged to make the offer that was disclosed by ICC on 25 August 2006," Hair said.

"During an extended conversation on 21 August 2006 with Mr Cowie, the Umpires' Manager for ICC, I was invited to make a written offer.

"I would have thought that it was quite apparent from the text of correspondence that I had been in discussions with ICC about the issue prior to sending the email.

"I was encouraged to make a written offer by ICC. The figure in the email correspondence was in line with those canvassed with the ICC."

Hair also said he did not give his consent to the emails being made public, adding that the context in which they were sent was not made clear.

Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq is facing an ICC disciplinary hearing, likely in mid-September, over charges of alleged ball tampering and for bringing the game into disrepute.

First Published: Aug 28, 2006 17:29 IST