Cricket umpires challenge retirement

Cricket umpires challenge retirement

Two Prospect members, the former cricket umpires Peter Willey and George Sharp, have brought a case of age discrimination against the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after their enforced retirement.

Cricket umpires and Prospect legal team

Willey and Sharp are highly respected umpires, who wanted to continue umpiring beyond the ECB’s expected retirement age of 65.

When their request to stay on was refused they brought claims of unfair dismissal and age discrimination.

The ECB accepted that both umpires were performing well, but argued the retirement age was justified. The case was heard by the employment tribunal this week.

Alan Leighton, Prospect national secretary, and John Holder, one of their former umpiring colleagues, also gave evidence to the tribunal.

The members were supported by Prospect’s legal team and were represented at the hearing by barrister Declan O’Dempsey.

George Sharp said: “I would like to thank Prospect for its professional help and support. It has been exceptional in its approach, dedication and understanding of my cause.”

And Peter Willey added: “The union was great and it really shows how people need unions. We could not have taken the case without it.”

The case has attracted much press attention this week, but the tribunal’s judgment has been reserved so it will be some weeks before the outcome is known.

  • Photo by Stefano Cagnoni shows (left to right) Marion Scovell, Prospect head of legal; Declan O’Dempsey, Counsel; Peter Willey; George Sharp; John Holder; and Alan Leighton, Prospect national secretary