• Wednesday, May 29, 2024


Ex-Hampshire player blasts Middlesex chief’s comment to racism inquiry

File photo of umpire John Holder and artist Paul Trevillion at a book signing during a Test Match at Edgbaston. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

By: Sattwik Biswal

FORMER Hampshire cricketer has slammed the chairman of Middlesex for his south Asians prefer studies comment.

John Holder, who is only non-white British umpire, said Mike O’Farrell’s testimony to a racism inquiry by Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, was “utter horse muck”.

O’Farrell later apologised after commenting that black people prefer football and rugby while the south Asian community take to studies. He told the inquiry that sport becomes secondary to British Asians because it is time consuming.

His comments were blasted by players, fans and politicians, with former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq reacting said the problem is “endemic” in the game.

Holder became the latest to slam Middlesex chairman’s comments to the inquiry.

He told GMB: “[The comments] from the Middlesex chairman are complete and utter horse muck, it really is.

“I came here back in the early 1960s and around that time in football there was a, in fact it was said publicly, that black people didn’t have the capacity, didn’t have the team spirit the desire to play professional football.

“What has happened in English football league? I mean you look at most teams now during the football season and there’s a massive proportion of the players are black.

“Then again in education, it was publicly said for many many years that black kids were mentally subnormal and they were almost unteachable. That is complete garbage.”

O’Farrell since than has offered his ‘wholehearted apologies’ in a statement through Middlesex.

He said: “First and foremost, I wish to offer my wholehearted apologies for the misunderstanding that my comments made at this morning’s DCMS Select Committee hearing have evidently caused.

“I wholly accept that this misunderstanding is entirely down to my own lack of clarity and context in the answers I provided, and I am devastated that my comments have led to the conclusions some have made.

“For the purposes of clarification, I was aiming to make the point that as a game, cricket has failed a generation of young cricketers, in systematically failing to provide them with the same opportunities that other sports and sectors so successfully provide.

“Cricket has to take responsibility for these failings and must learn that until we make the game an attractive proposition for youngsters of all backgrounds to continue through the pathway into the professional game, much like other sports and sectors are doing, the game won’t make the progress it needs to.

“We at Middlesex are no different. We have an Academy side that contains in excess of 60 per cent British born Asian and black young cricketers, and we must take responsibility for ensuring that the route into the professional game is as accessible and appealing as other sports or opportunities.

“I speak on behalf of the entire Club in saying that our desire is to see a first eleven walking out to play for the Club which is truly reflective of the broadly diverse county that Middlesex is today and that we will do all within our power to make that happen.

“Once again I apologise for any upset or hurt my earlier comments may have caused, that was most definitely not my intention.”

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