County Championship 2005 May 27, 2005

Surrey docked eight points for ball-tampering

Cricinfo staff

Surrey have been docked eight points for ball-tampering during their Championship match against Nottinghamshire, at The Oval earlier this month. There will be a further nine-point deduction, suspended until May 31, 2006, which will come into effect if Surrey or any Surrey player is found guilty of ball-tampering in the next 12 months.

Gerard Elias QC, the chairman of the ECB's discipline committee, issued a statement today, saying that even though the umpires officiating at the game warned Surrey about the condition of the ball, further ball-tampering occurred.

Surrey accepted that there had been ball-tampering, and launched an internal investigation, but where unable to establish the guilty party. Elias said: "The report indicated the club's intention to apply its own internal disciplinary procedure to reflect the serious view the club takes of such a blot on its reputation and that of cricket in general."

Surrey's chief executive Paul Sheldon added: "This whole incident has been a huge disappointment to the club, and it wishes to offer a full and final apology to everyone who has been affected. The firm and decisive action taken indicates how seriously the ECB and the club have treated the case. It clearly shows our determination to ensure that this cannot be tolerated in the game. As stand-in captain, Mark Ramprakash handled a very difficult situation with characteristic professionalism. We can now draw a clear line under the whole issue and put the matter behind us."

The ECB took into account Surrey's admission and prompt action when deciding on their punishment, but an eight-point loss will still hurt them in a tight top division of the County Championship.

Meanwhile, on a busy day for disciplinary issues at the ECB, a hearing has been announced into Steve Kirby's conduct during the Championship match between Glamorgan and Gloucestershire at Cardiff on May 6-9. Glamorgan complained that Kirby roughed up the ball when it was hit into the car park, but Gloucestershire maintain that it was just natural wear and tear. That hearing will take place on June 6.