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MCC to trial "red cards" for bad behaviour

Player behaviour has become a concern for umpires
Player behaviour has become a concern for umpires

MCC, the Guardian of the Laws of Cricket, is to trial new on-field sanctions including penalty runs and the removal of players from the field in an attempt to arrest declining standards of player behaviour.

Leagues, schools and MCC Universities in the UK are being invited to take part in the trials this summer, with a variety of different suggested sanctions available for umpires to use.

MCC has used the ECB’s Code of Conduct Levels of 1 to 4 as a guide to what behaviour constitutes what level of breach, with some minor alterations, but is also encouraging flexibility in order to gain a broad range of feedback.

The trials are part of a thorough review of the Laws of Cricket being undertaken by the Club with a view to publishing a new Code of the Laws (the first since 2000) in October 2017.

five matches in the UK had to be abandoned in 2015, following outbreaks of violence

Following a global consultation in 2015, the majority of umpires felt they would be better empowered to deal with poor on-field behaviour if they had more power to tackle the problem during the match, rather than through a retrospective reporting procedure.

A green paper produced as a result by MCC and soon to be distributed to leagues, umpire associations, schools and universities states: "There is clear evidence, both anecdotally and through increased reports via leagues, that the standards of player behaviour on the cricket field are declining worldwide. 

"Whilst the majority of cricket is played in a competitive but fair spirit, there are some players, or even teams, whose behaviour is below what is expected for cricket.  Indeed, five matches in the UK had to be abandoned in 2015, following outbreaks of violence."

Some trials have already taken place in New Zealand, with a yellow card/red card style system being employed.

The evidence from that trial points to the deterrent of on field sanctions resulting in a 'significantly reduced number of reports of Code violations for behaviour' across the country.

Other aspects of the Laws which were highlighted for consultation with umpires around the world late last year include the Switch Hit, bat sizes and movement by fielders and the wicket-keeper. This latter element of the Law was amended in October 2015.

READ REPORT2

MCC's guidelines to Umpires for trial sanctions

Level 4 offences:

(a) threatening an umpire or referee;

(b) physical assault of another player, umpire, referee, official or spectator;

(c) any act of violence on the field of play;

(d) using  language  or  gesture  that  seriously  offends, insults,  humiliates,  intimidates,  threatens, disparages or vilifies another person on the basis of that person's race,  religion  or  belief,  colour,  descent,  national  or ethnic origin, age, disability, gender, sexual orientation or background.

Suggested sanctions:

  • Player is sent off the field for the remainder of the match.  If he refuses to go, the captain will be warned that it would constitute a refusal to play.
  • Additional 5 run penalty and report.
  • If it is a batsman who committed the offence, he is Retired out; and if 9 wickets are down, his team are all out.
  • Umpires instruct captain to remove player, or vice-captain/senior player if it is the captain who is the offender.

NB If the captain is already suspended, then his nominated deputy on the field is to be used.

Level 3 offences:

(a) intimidating an umpire or referee;

(b) threatening to assault another player, team official or spectator;

(c)using language or gesture that offends, insults, humiliates, intimidates, threatens, disparages or vilifies another  person  on  the  basis  of  that  person's  race, religion  or  belief,  colour,  descent,  national  or  ethnic origin,  age,  disability,  gender,  sexual  orientation  or background;

(d) deliberately bowling a high full pitched ball which is deemed dangerous and unfair as defined in Law 42.6(b).

Suggested sanctions:

  • Player is sent off for 10 overs of playing time or 20% of that innings’ overs, whichever is fewer.
  • Any unexpired penance time is carried forward to next innings.
  • Additional 5 run penalty and report.
  • If a fielder, he can bowl immediately upon his return.
  • If a batsman, he is Retired not out, and if 9 wickets are down his team is all out. He may return at the fall of the next wicket after his suspension has been fully served or if one of the current batsmen is Retired out.
  • Umpires instruct captain to remove player, or vice-captain/senior player if captain is the offender.

Level 2 offences:

(a) showing serious dissent at an umpire's decision by word or action;

(b) inappropriate and deliberate physical contact between players in the course of play;

(c) deliberate distraction or obstruction of another player on the field of play, regardless as to whether such conduct is deemed unfair under Law 42.5;

(d) throwing the ball at or near a player, umpire or official in an inappropriate and dangerous manner;

(e) using language or gesture that is obscene or of a serious insulting nature to another player, umpire, referee, team official or spectator;

(f) causing avoidable damage to the pitch that results in a 5 run penalty being awarded under Laws 42.13 and/or 42.14.

Suggested sanctions:

  • This process would be wholly umpire led.
  • The umpires must agree, and report all incidents in the post-match report.
  • Immediate 5 penalty runs on first and all subsequent occasions.

Level 1

(a) time wasting by either the fielding side or the batting side which results in a 5 run penalty or the bowler being disallowed from bowling any further in that innings.

(b) abuse of cricket ground, equipment or fixtures/fittings;

(c) showing dissent  at  an  umpire's  decision  by  word or action;

(d) using language  that  is  obscene,  offensive  or  insulting and/or making an obscene gesture;

(e) excessive appealing;

(f) charging or advancing towards an umpire in an aggressive manner when appealing.

Suggested sanctions:

  • This process would be wholly umpire led.
  • The umpires must agree, and report all incidents in the post-match report.
  • First and final warning to Captain, which applies to all members of that team throughout the match.
  • 5 penalty runs on all subsequent occasions.

Options to be offered to participating leagues, schools or universities.

            A. The full package as defined above.

            B. Levels 1, 2 & 3 as above, with Level 4 punished as Level 3, but reported as Level 4 (i.e. no sending off)

C. Levels 1, 2 & 4 as above, with Level 3 punished as Level 2, but reported as level 3 (i.e. no temporary suspension)

D. Levels 1 & 2 as above, with Levels 3 & 4 punished as Level 2, but reported as Level 3 & 4 (i.e. penalty runs only)

E. As for D except that a first and final warning given for Level 2, which effectively means that all offences are treated initially with a warning.


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