Attack On Cricket Umpire Ross Emerson (November 1999)
Cited in 'The Crumbling Of Order' by P Atkinson

Following an incident on the Adelaide oval in January, 1999, during which the Sri Lankan skipper held up play for 14 minutes when he threatened take his players off the field as he argued heatedly with the umpire, the Australian Cricket Board subsequently discovered a reason for standing down the umpire in question.

They announced at a press conference that Ross Emerson would no longer be an umpire for the one day cricket matches in Perth scheduled for 29th and 31st of January, 1999, because he was on stress leave from his regular job, which made him ineligible to oversee the two matches.

This was not the end of the matter for Mr Emerson took legal action, which was reported in the Courier-Mail 11/12/1999, by Robert Craddock:

THE Australian Cricket Board is bracing itself for a bitter legal showdown with controversial umpire Ross Emerson. Emerson has stunned the ACB by launching a defamation case against Board chairman Denis Rogers.

"We will be defending it vigorously," ACB chief executive Malcolm Speed said yesterday.

The case is scheduled to be heard in Perth Supreme Court on November 22 and the ACB is privately furious over Emerson's stance. Emerson was stood down from umpiring last summer after it was revealed he was on sick leave from his job in the West Australian Ministry of Fair Trading when he called Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan for throwing in a one-day game in Adelaide.

During the press conference in which he announced Emerson would be stood down from handling the following weekend's one-dayer in Perth, Rogers questioned whether Emerson was fit enough to umpire given he was not fit enough to work.

The claim prompted Emerson to take legal action. Rogers said the ACB had stood Emerson down on legal advice and claimed the board was not aware Emerson had taken stress leave until after the umpiring appointments for the one-day series had been made. But Emerson is poised to argue in court he had informed the ACB much earlier and had a doctor's certificate which proved he was physically capable of umpiring despite being on sick leave. Emerson's unprecedented action against the ACB will ensure he never again umpires at international level.

He was dropped from the international panel this summer and although there are precedents of umpires fighting their way back on to the panel, the ACB now views Emerson as a dangerous loose cannon.

Last week Emerson was a party to sending a tape of Pakistan bowler Shoaib Akhtar to the ACB questioning whether Akhtar's slingshot action was legal. But the ACB distanced itself from the matter by claiming protocol had not been observed and it had no jurisdiction in the matter.

Umpires Ed Nicholls and Daryl Harper and match referee John Reid, who is on the international panel for viewing suspect actions, had no problem with Akhtar's action during the Brisbane Test.