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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Cumbria cricket umpires quitting amid abuse concerns

The Cumbria Association of Cricket Officials is warning of an impending crisis with the threat of more and more umpires walking away from the game because of unsporting behaviour.

At their AGM last month they decided unanimously to take their concerns about umpire abuse to players and clubs.

Now Association secretary Stewart Hulse MBE has warned: “Umpires are not prepared to take much more.

“It is a fact that Umpire Secretaries who appoint officials to cricket matches are getting a little frustrated as numbers of umpires are dwindling every year, which has a knock on effect that some cricket matches do not have a full complement of match officials.

“The reason for this concern is twofold. First of all there is a shortage of new umpires coming into the game to replace umpires who are retiring, but the major concern is that umpires are leaving the game because players are verbally abusing umpires, mainly because they don’t agree with umpiring decisions.

“As one respected Test match umpire (now retired) having returned to officiate at recreational level states, ‘All over the country umpires are quitting the game because of player abuse and ill mannered behaviour.’

“The only recourse an umpire has is to report the offending player or players to the cricket league or appropriate authorities.

“It is then left to the discretion of those disciplinary committees to dispense whatever justice they feel is suitable, which can vary from a slap on the wrist to whatever sentence the committee deems suitable.”

He points out that the English Cricket Board (ECB) have produced regulations/ guidelines for disciplinary committees to follow.

“These ECB disciplinary regulations clearly state that initially it is the responsibility of the cricket club to convene a meeting to discuss the umpires’ report and to dispense whatever justice they think fit,” says Mr Hulse.

“The offence, however, the final assessment and judgement of the offence is the responsibility of the disciplinary committee of the cricket league in question. “Umpires Associations are constantly reminding members in the strongest terms that un-sporting and abusive behaviour by players/ clubs must be reported.

“The 2011 cricket season has seen a number of good and well respective umpires leaving the game because of unacceptable player behaviour and there are others who are ready to quit the game.

“It will only take just one confrontation with a player showing an unacceptable level of dissent and a number of umpires have made it clear that they will resign immediately. With this in mind, and prior to the 2012 season, clubs and players should be aware that umpires are getting very disillusioned with certain players and the unacceptable behaviour they adopt against umpires.

“If this exodus of umpires continues, plus the lack of new blood coming into the game, then we shall be back to the old days of players umpiring themselves.

“As soon as players and clubs recognise this fact, the better.

“It should also be made patently clear to players and clubs alike that umpires are not queuing up waiting to come into cricket.

“As soon as certain players realise this and get a grip of themselves by controlling their aggressive attitude towards match officials and fellow players, the better the game of cricket will be.”

 

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