SHAMING OF LORD'S; Woman Receptionist Who Says She Was Forced to Have Abortion Wins Discrimination Case SACKED RECEPTIONIST LIFTS THE LID ON SEXISM IN THE HOME OF CRICKET I Was Given [Pounds Sterling]400 and Told: Have an Abortion

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THE appalling attitudes towards women in the upper echelons of English cricket were laid bare yesterday.

A former receptionist at Lord's, the world headquarters of the game, told an industrial tribunal how she was bullied into having an abortion after an affair with a cricket executive.

Theresa Harrild, 32, also said that the male-dominated hierarchy made offensive remarks about England's women cricketers.

Lord's officials refuted her allegations but the tribunal panel backed Mrs Harrild's claims of sexual discrimination against the English Cricket Board.

She could now receive around [pounds sterling]10,000 in compensation.

A lurid picture of sexism at the top of the sport emerged during the hearing in London. Miss Har-rild alleged that Tim Lamb, the chief executive of the ECB, once said: 'We want our good dykes on board so that we can get more lottery money.' Another executive is said to have told her that cricket was 'a bloke's world and not a place for girls'.

Miss Harrild told how she began a relationship with an executive who worked on the third floor of the Lord's offices - who she declined to name - and became pregnant at the end of 1996.

She claimed her employers were outraged that it would damage the man's career and began pressuring her to have a termination.

She told the tribunal that Lord's chiefs arranged for her to receive a brown envelope containing [pounds sterling]400 in cash to pay for the procedure.

Afterwards, as she recovered at home from depression, she was visited by Cliff Barker, deputy chief executive of the ECB, and told she was sacked.

ECB officials admitted Miss Har-rild had an affair with Nick Mar-riner, development executive at Lord's.

But a spokesman insisted: 'The ECB did not pay for her abortion and Tim Lamb never made those remarks. He would never make remarks of that kind.' He added: 'Theresa Harrild paints a very distorted picture of the ECB. We are saddened that she chose to make an extraordinary claim to an industrial tribunal when the matter could have been privately and sensibly settled between the two parties. She chose instead to exploit the public forum of a tribunal.

The ECB believed nothing could be gained by either side by a public debate whatever the merits of the case and declined to attend the tribunal.

'We are confident that we have behaved properly and fairly in all our dealings with Miss Harrild.' Miss Harrild, who broke down in tears after her victory, said: 'I am very pleased that the tribunal declared that all the evidence I gave was true.

'All I ever wanted from them was an apology for what they put me through.

I hope this will make for positive changes for my former female colleagues at the ECB and for any and all women involved in sport.' Minutes earlier, tribunal chairman Christopher Carstairs said it accepted Miss Harrild's two claims of sex discrimination. 'The tribunal finds that the pressure exerted for her to have that termination was against the Discrimination Act,' he said. 'We also found on the grounds of the circumstances of dismissal, namely the pressure on her to terminate her pregnancy.' The tribunal decided the ECB saw Miss Harrild's employment 'merely as a job as opposed to a career which is how they saw the employment of the father of the child. The tribunal is satisfied the respondent perceived her as an embarrassment'.

Mr Carstairs added: 'We were unanimous in finding that the evidence given by Miss Harrild was truthful and the tribunal therefore accepted the evidence that she gave.' Miss Harrild, who lives with her 14-year-old son in Blackheath, South-East London, told the tribunal that working at Lord's had felt like her 'dream job' until the board found out about her pregnancy.

'On the 9th of January 1997 Tim Lamb asked me to come in for a chat,' she recalled. …