Clamping down before problems grow November 20, 2007

ECB examines crowd issues

Cricinfo staff

Not all Twenty20 crowds have been so well behaved © Getty Images
An ECB working party has examined ways of maintaining well-behaved crowds following a few isolated incidents last season. Gordon Hollins, the head of venues, led the group after the 2007 domestic Twenty20 tournament was marred by unruly behaviour at some games.

Last season at Southgate some Middlesex players had their wallets stolen and the Hampshire team bus was pelted by stones. Robert Croft also spoke about the abuse he took while fielding on the boundary at Taunton.

Now the ECB are implementing the same crowd standards that apply for international matches, which includes encouraging the grounds to designate one area a family zone and a ban on bringing in alcohol.

"ECB want to ensure that the type of behaviour which caused some unfortunate headlines last summer is not allowed to resurface in cricket during the summer of 2008 and spoil the enjoyment of the majority," said Hollins. "We were adamant that we had to be proactive in this area to nip these issues in the bud.

"There will also be a zero-tolerance policy concerning foul language, and anyone using racist language shall be subject to prosecution. We are trying to ensure that all those who do wish to drink at matches also consider the spectators around them."

David Collier, the ECB chief executive, said: "We have a great tradition of sporting crowds at cricket in England and Wales and so were concerned by a limited number of examples last season which if not addressed could lead to a decline in the standards of behaviour we are seeking to preserve at cricket events in this country."