ECB official suspended over alleged racial slur directed at England legend Devon Malcolm

The England and Wales Cricket Board have suspended a senior official following an accusation they made a racially offensive comment about former England fast bowler Devon Malcolm.

As reported by the Times and the Telegraph, the official allegedly made the comment earlier this summer and has worked at the ECB for a number of years, although the official is reported to be standing down pending the result of the investigation. He claimed he was unable to see Malcolm ‘until he smiles’.

Malcolm starred for England against South Africa at The Oval in 1994, taking nine wickets for 57 runs. He finished his career with 128 wickets in 40 Tests and a further 16 in 10 one-day internationals for England after emigrating to Sheffield from Jamaica in 1979.

The 59-year-old and fellow former England pace bowler Dean Headley were among five new people added to the ECB’s match referees panel as part of a bid to improve diversity across the sport. Malcolm had been rejected twice in his attempts to become a first-class umpire while others appeared to fly though proceedings.

The issue of diversity among officials came to a head in 2020 when former umpires John Holder and Ismail Dawood highlighted the discrimination in the ECB’s appointments system when they pointed out that no non-white official had been added to the first-class list since 1992.

Holder was dropped from the Test match list in 1991 after reporting an alleged ball tampering incident by an England player, while Dawood was never elevated from the reserve list.

Devon Malcolm's finest international moment came against South Africa in 1994 as he took nine wickets for 57 runs

Devon Malcolm’s finest international moment came against South Africa in 1994 as he took nine wickets for 57 runs

The duo withdrew their employment claim against the ECB one week after the appointments of Malcolm and Headley to the new ‘supplementary panel’ of match referees. They were added alongside former Durham captain Will Smith, Alec Swann and Simon Hinks.

The latest controversial incident regarding race comes just two weeks after the ECB announced it was bringing charges against Yorkshire and seven individuals. The body are desperate to repair its image following Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s shocking mishandling of Azeem Rafiq’s high-profile allegations of racism.

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