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Rediff.com  » Sports » Hair offered to quit for $500,000

Hair offered to quit for $500,000

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Last updated on: August 26, 2006 11:48 IST

Darrell Hair, the umpire at the centre of the Pakistan ball tampering controversy, had offered in a letter to quit in return for $500,000, the International Cricket Council said on Friday.

In a letter dated Aug. 22, Hair requested "a one-off payment to compensate for the loss of future earnings and retainer payments over the next four years, which I believe would have been the best years I have to offer ICC and world umpiring".

The 53-year-old continued: "I am prepared to retire/stand down/relinquish my position on the elite (umpires) panel to take effect from August 31 2006.

"This payment is to be the sum of $500,000 details of which must be kept confidential by both parties." He asked for the money to be paid into his account by Aug. 31.

ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed told a news conference that Hair was under 'great stress' when he wrote the letter but that its contents would be discussed by its executive board next Saturday in Dubai.

"He's not sacked, not suspended and has not been charged but I didn't guarantee (to Hair) that each of those positions would be the case indefinitely. We are in very early stages," said Speed.

'VERY SENSITIVE'

He continued: "We realise this makes Mr Hair's situation very sensitive. We have made available to him security advice, counselling and media management to assist him."

The ball tampering controversy had threatened the one-day series against England which begins next week but the ICC confirmed it will be held as scheduled.

Hair has been blamed by the Pakistan Cricket Board for sparking the row by ruling that the touring team had illegally tampered with the ball during the fourth and final test with England at The Oval last Sunday.

That decision led to a forfeiture of the test by Pakistan -- the first team to do so in test history -- and charges of bringing the game into disrepute and ball tampering against captain Inzamam-ul-Haq.

A disciplinary hearing against Inzamam, who faces an eight-match one-day international or four-test ban if found guilty, will be held in the second half of September, the ICC said.

Pakistan tour manager Zaheer Abbas refused to get drawn into Friday's revelations.

"It was news to us," he told Sky News.

"It's a matter between the ICC and Mr Hair. I don't want to discuss it any further. We know we didn't tamper with the ball so our conscience is clear."

Opinions have been split throughout the cricketing world with leading Australian players, past and present, backing their countryman Hair against almost universal condemnation in the sub-continent.

Former Pakistan captain and coach Javed Miandad said Hair had hurt those who supported him.

"By asking for money to retire, he basically gives the impression the charges he made against Pakistan were without evidence," Miandad said.

Ex-Pakistan bowler Sarfraz Nawaz added: "He has damaged his own reputation and credibility."

LIFESTYLE CHOICE

Hair continued in the letter circulated to the media: "ICC may announce the retirement in anyway they wish but I would prefer a simple 'lifestyle choice' as this was the very reason I moved from Australia to settle in the UK three years ago."

After numerous correspondences with the ICC, Hair eventually revoked his offer in his final letter.

Last Sunday, Pakistan had been incensed that the umpires decided they had been guilty of ball tampering, docking the team five runs, and decided to stay in the dressing room for several minutes as a protest.

Inzamam subsequently led his team back on the field but the umpires ruled that the match was already abandoned.

Referring to the Inzamam case, Speed said: "It involves two separate issues. Did the Pakistan team change the ball in an illegal manner? Secondly, when Pakistan refused to resume after the tea break, did that bring the game into disrepute?

"They are cricket issues. The ICC Code of Conduct provides a mechanism to dispense justice on cricket issues and that's the process we are trying to achieve here."

Hair has had a history of run-ins with Pakistan in the past and officials from the country's cricket board said Pakistan did not want the Australian to officiate any future matches involving them.

(Additional reporting by Waheed Khan in Karachi)

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