Ashes

Mickey Arthur: Aussies racist

2013-07-17 07:48
Mickey Arthur (Getty)

Sydney - Australia's first foreign-born coach Mickey Arthur on Wednesday confirmed he was suing Cricket Australia for racial discrimination after being dumped from the job, while blasting the leaking of explosive case details to the media.

The South African was axed just 16 days before the first Test against Ashes-holders England at Trent Bridge this month and replaced by former Australia batsman Darren Lehmann.

His Australian-based lawyers said proceedings were filed with the Fair Work Commission (FWC) last week "on a number of grounds for being sacked and scapegoated".

"The grounds include racial discrimination," Harmers Workplace Lawyers and Arthur said in a statement.

Reports said Arthur, fired two years before his contract was due to expire, was seeking up to Aus$4 million (R40m) in compensation, claiming he was discriminated against because he was South African and "didn't understand the Australian way".

According to Australian broadcaster Channel Seven, the legal documents reveal a major feud in the team between captain Michael Clarke and former vice-captain Shane Watson.

Clarke allegedly described the role of Watson and his faction as a "cancer" with Arthur calling himself the "meat in the sandwich" between the conflicting camps.

Arthur also reportedly claimed it was Watson who informed him of a nightclub incident in Birmingham, when David Warner punched England's Joe Root during the Champions Trophy last month.

Arthur said he was upset the details had been leaked as he wanted the matter to be kept quiet.

"I am extremely upset and disappointed that confidential documents appear to have been given by others to the media," he said.

"The matters raised in my application to the FWC concerning issues within the Australian cricket team are very sensitive, which is why I was at pains to keep them confidential, especially at this time.

"I have kept them confidential, unfortunately others have now made them public," he added.

"I want to stress how important to me the members of the team were, and still remain to me. The welfare of the Australian cricket team is upmost to me."

Cricket Australia said it was "disappointed that it's come to this".

"But Cricket Australia is confident in its position on this matter and is sure it will get resolved in an appropriate manner."

When he was sacked, amid claims that discipline and standards had fallen, Arthur went quietly, admitting he had been "shocked and shattered" and had no idea he was about to lose his job.

He refused to blame the players and acted with good grace at a hastily-convened press conference to announce his departure.

Arthur flew back to Australia from England immediately after the decision, learning in transit that his mother had died.

Clarke shrugged off suggestions of internal dissent during Arthur's short tenure and said harmony in the team was never better with Lehmann now in charge.

"I'm not going to get involved in that," he told the Sydney Morning Herald's website Wednesday of the Arthur reports.

"To me, the focus is what's in front of me, not what's behind me. Decisions have been made, and made for reasons.

"We've got a fantastic group, with a great coach. He's united us. We're heading in the right direction."

A confidential conciliation between Arthur and Cricket Australia has been scheduled for next week, his lawyers said.

Reports said the general feeling was that the matter would be settled out of court, but that Arthur's reputation could suffer for airing the dirty laundry days away from an Ashes Test.


Read more on:    cricket australia  |  mickey arthur  |  cricket
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