Anger at match referee's fine January 17, 2005

Vaughan considers suing the ICC

Cricinfo staff

Michael Vaughan disagrees with Steve Bucknor after play was suspended on the second day © Getty Images

Michael Vaughan has asked the Professional Cricketers' Association for advice with a view to him taking legal action against the ICC after he was fined his entire match fee for commenting on the umpiring during the Johannesburg Test against South Africa.

According to a report in London's Daily Telegraph, Richard Bevan, the PCA chief executive, argued that the ICC's ruling was inconsistent with their own guidelines. Vaughan was charged with a level two offence, a relatively minor transgression for which there is no appeals procedure - a player can only appeal if he has been charged with a level three of a level four offence.

"If you're going to fine somebody 100% of their match fee, then that is no longer a minor offence," Bevan said. "We're going to call for a total review of the ICC's disciplinary process, insisting on a right of appeal for level one and two offences. We hope the ICC will realise that they've got it wrong. If they don't recognise that, we may be taking legal advice." The report also stated that FICA, the international players' body, supported the PCA's stand on the matter.

Vaughan was fined by Clive Lloyd, the match referee, for questioning the umpires' judgments on conditions during the second day of the Test. "As players, all we ask for is consistency," Vaughan told reporters at the close of the second day. "It [The light] is probably the best light we've had all day and we're sitting down in the dressing-room."

Lloyd took strong exception to these statements. "As the captain, Michael Vaughan should be aware of his duties and the rules under which he is playing. It is a serious offence to make such comments about the match officials." But Lloyd's action was condemned by many former players, one of the most outspoken being Ian Botham. "Instead of putting just players and coaches on charges in a kangaroo court, why not apply the same code of conduct to umpires when they make a cock-up?" he fumed.

According to a report in today's London-based Daily Mirror, England are also far from happy that Graeme Smith appeared as a witness at Vaughan's disciplinary hearing.