The International Cricket Council (ICC) has today responded to a number of concerns from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) regarding penalties imposed by ICC match referee, Mike Denness, during the second Test in South Africa.
ICC Chief Executive, Malcolm Speed, said: "We have received and are currently considering a written complaint from the BCCI regarding the actions of Mike Denness during the recent India v South Africa Test match.
"Mike Denness is a former Test captain and a very experienced match referee. During his time refereeing Test and One-Day International matches his record has been one of fairness and consistency. On the previous 9 occasions where Mike Denness has acted as Referee for a match involving India, no Indian players have been reported or penalised."
There is a clearly defined process for appointing ICC match referees for a Test series. This involves consulting each of the participating cricket boards to see whether either has an objection to the appointment. When contacted in September this year, neither India nor South Africa had any objection whatsoever to Mike Denness' appointment.
Malcolm Speed concluded: "The BCCI has requested that another match referee be appointed to officiate in the third Test. However, given that the ICC is satisfied that all procedures have been adhered to, we cannot agree to this request."
The ICC provisions in relation to umpires and referees have been in place for 10 years. It is clearly understood by all of the ICC Member Boards that there is no right of appeal against the decision of a match referee. It has never been seriously suggested by any Board that there should be such a right.
It is common knowledge that the ICC is carrying out an extensive review of the way in which umpires and referees are appointed, trained and critiqued. These matters have been raised at the last three meetings of the ICC Executive Board.
The ICC Executive Board resolved at its meeting last month in Kuala Lumpur to review the penalties that are laid out in the ICC Code of Conduct. The ICC is currently drafting a new code in respect of both offences and set penalties.
It is envisaged that there will be three or four groups of offences with set penalties applicable to each group. The major objectives of this new system are to have appropriate penalties in place for all international cricket matches.
It is proposed that this will be adopted on 1st April 2002, the same date on which the new panels of umpires and referees commence.
ICC President Malcolm Gray, said today: "The ICC is concerned about standards of on-field behaviour of players and has asked umpires and referees to take a stronger stance in respect of charging offending players and imposing appropriate penalties. This initiative has the strong support of all members of the ICC Executive Board.
If any Member country of the ICC is concerned about the processes that have been in place for many years, the proper way of dealing with this is to raise it as an issue at the next meeting of the Executive Board."
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