November 23, 2001

ICC sets out latest position regarding South Africa v India

The International Cricket Council is determined to resolve the current issue in the best interests of cricket around the world.

The fundamental issue at stake is the right of the ICC, as the world governing body for cricket, to appoint referees and umpires, and for those officials to make decisions which are respected by both players and Boards. Without this right, the sport could descend into anarchy.

The ICC has made it very clear that it wants to see improved standards of on-field behaviour for the good of the game as a whole. All Test Captains were notified of this intention, in writing, by Chief Executive Malcolm Speed. The captains in the South Africa versus India series were reminded of their responsibilities by Mike Denness before the series began.

It is also important to understand that Mike Denness did not make these decisions in isolation: with the exception of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, the other four players were reported by the umpires, one a South African, the other a Zimbabwean.

It would have been very easy for the ICC to have replaced Mike Denness with an alternative referee and thereby ducked this issue, but that would have set a very dangerous precedent. Thereafter, any country not happy with an umpire or referee for whatever reason, could have chosen to refuse to play a match. Clearly this would be an untenable situation.

The ICC will not speculate on future developments, but is determined that the disciplinary action will stand.

Suggestions for potential changes to the disciplinary process will be discussed at the next ICC Executive Board meeting, but in the mean time, our interests are to uphold the rights of the match officials and the integrity of cricket.

In the light of events in South Africa over the last 48 hours, the ICC would like to underline the following point:

The ICC has the right to withdraw Test Match status from the South Africa versus India game. The ICC Code of Conduct Standard Playing Conditions and Other Regulations, accepted and approved by the ICC Executive Board, states the following regarding referees:

"An ICC Referee shall:
a) be appointed by the ICC President or the ICC Chief Executive, and
b) shall be independent of any Member or Member Country competing in any Test Match or ODI Match for which he is appointed
c) neither team will have a right of objection to a referee's appointment

The referee shall be the independent representative of the ICC at all Test Matches and ODI Matches...".

India and South Africa chose to reject the properly appointed ICC referee in this instance and on this basis, the match cannot be deemed a Test Match.

Media contact:

Jonathan Hemus
ICC Communications
Tel: + 44 (0) 207 266 7913/1818