PREMIER LEAGUE DISCIPLINARY REGULATIONS
Aims and Jurisdiction
Code of conduct and spirit of cricket
Breaches and reporting
Non-payment of fines
- BREACHES OF DISCIPLINE
AIMS AND JURISDICTION
- The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is committed to maintaining the highest standards of behaviour and conduct in the game of cricket. The ECB Premier Leagues (the Leagues), including the North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Premier Cricket League, the Birmingham & District Premier League, the East Anglian Premier League, the Home Counties Premier League, The North Eastern Premier League and the West of England Premier League, which operate within the jurisdiction of the ECB, share this commitment and take it very seriously.
- These ECB Premier League Disciplinary Regulations, incorporating the Code of Conduct and Spirit of Cricket (as set out in paragraph 2 below) (Disciplinary Regulations), have been adopted by the Leagues and are intended to provide guidance and ensure uniformity in dealing with any alleged breach of the Code of Conduct.
- The Disciplinary Regulations shall be complied with by all those who participate in the Leagues, including players, clubs, club officials, club members, the Leagues, representatives of the Leagues and any other person or body who is from time-to-time engaged in cricket-related activities under the auspices of the Leagues (Participants). (For the purposes of paragraph 2 below, ‘players’ shall be deemed to include other Participants if the context of an alleged breach of the Code of Conduct so requires.)
- Subject to the mutual recognition provisions (at paragraph 9 below), the League shall be responsible for the enforcement and administration of the Disciplinary Regulations in relation to Participants registered to the League and/or participating in cricket-related activities under its auspices. All participants, by virtue of their registration with the league (whether directly or via a club) and/or participation in cricket-related activities under the auspices of the League, agree to be bound by the Disciplinary Regulations.
- All Participants are required to cooperate with the Leagues in regard to discipline. Without prejudice to the generality of this requirement, every club shall take all reasonable steps to ensure the proper conduct of its Participants in accordance with the Disciplinary Regulations and shall not act in any way which is prejudicial or detrimental to the interests or reputation of the League(s) or the game of cricket.
- There is nothing in the Disciplinary Regulations preventing or discouraging clubs from applying additional or stronger penalties in regard to breaches of the Code of Conduct beyond those set out in the Disciplinary Regulations, whether or not penalties may apply under the Disciplinary Regulations. To this end, it is important that clubs have their own code of conduct and disciplinary procedures in place.
- At all times it is to be remembered that the core aim of the Disciplinary Regulations is to maintain the highest standards of behaviour and conduct in the game of cricket. The procedures detailed in the Disciplinary Regulations are intended to be fair, straightforward and proportionate to the needs of the Leagues and Participants, respecting fundamental principles of natural justice and fairness but recognising that those involved with the procedures will not typically be, and do not need to be, legally qualified. Therefore, as long as the principles of natural justice and fairness are not infringed, minor practical or technical points will not serve to invalidate the procedure or any decisions or findings under the Disciplinary Regulations.
- In the event that any incident or other matter occurs which is not provided for by the Disciplinary Regulations (whether it relates to conduct, jurisdiction, procedure or penalty), then the Chairman of the League’s Discipline Committee or his nominated deputy (Discipline Chairman) or the League’s Disciplinary/Appeal Panel may take such action as considered appropriate in the circumstances, taking into account the specific circumstances and the principles of natural justice and fairness.
- In the event that any alleged breach of the Code of Conduct falls under any other relevant ECB regulations (as may from time-to-time be inforce), such as the ECB Safeguarding Complaints and Disciplinary Procedure, or is subject to investigation by the police or other public authority (or analogous body), or is subject to any other legal/regulatory process, the Discipline Chairman or the League’s Disciplinary/Appeal Panel may stay the procedure under the Disciplinary Regulations.
- CODE OF CONDUCT AND SPIRIT OF CRICKET
2.1 CODE OF CONDUCT
2.1.1 Captains are responsible at all times for ensuring that play is conducted within the Spirit of Cricket (as set out in paragraph 2.2) as well as within the Laws.
2.1.2 Players must at all times accept the umpire’s decision. Players must not show dissent at the umpire’s decision or react in a provocative or disapproving manner towards another player or spectator.
2.1.3 Players shall not intimidate assault or attempt to intimidate or assault an umpire, another Participant or a spectator.
2.1.4 Players shall not use crude and/or abusive language (known as ‘sledging’), nor make offensive gestures or hand signals, nor deliberately distract an opponent.
2.1.5 Players shall not use language or gestures that offend, insult, humiliate, intimidate, threaten, disparage or vilify another person on the basis of that person’s (or that person’s perceived) age, race, religion, sexual orientation, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin.
2.1.6 Players shall not use or in any way be concerned in the use or distribution of illegal drugs or criminal activity.
2.1.7 Participants shall not make any public or media comment which is prejudicial or detrimental to the interests or reputation of other Participants or the game of cricket in general. In this instance, media shall include (but not necessarily be limited to) press, radio, television, external websites, club websites, social networking sites and club match programmes. Nothing in this provision shall prevent any comment which constitutes honest opinion in regard to cricketing matters and which is made in a fair and respectful manner.
2.1.8 Participants shall not publicly disclose or comment upon any alleged breach of this Code of Conduct.
2.1.9 Participants shall not act in any manner which is against the Spirit of Cricket, otherwise improper, or prejudicial or detrimental to the interests or reputation of the League(s) or the game of cricket.
2.2 SPIRIT OF CRICKET
Cricket is a game that owes much unique appeal to the fact that it should be played not only within the Laws, but also within the spirit of the game. Any action which is seen to abuse this spirit causes injury to the game itself. The major responsibility for ensuring the spirit of fair play rests with the captains.
2.2.1 There are two Laws which place the responsibility for a team’s conduct firmly on the captain.
RESPONSIBILITY OF CAPTAINS
The captains are responsible at all times for ensuring that play is conducted within the Spirit of the Game as well as within the Laws.
In the event of any player failing to comply with the instructions of the umpire, criticising his decision by word or action, showing dissent, or generally behaving in a manner which might bring the game into disrepute, the umpire concerned shall in the first place report the matter to the other umpire and to the player’s captain, requesting the latter to take action.
2.2.2 FAIR AND UNFAIR PLAY
According to the Laws the umpires are the sole judges of fair and unfair play. The umpires may intervene at any time, and it is the responsibility of the captain to take action where required.
2.2.3 THE UMPIRES ARE AUTHORISED TO INTERVENE IN CASES OF:
- Time wasting
- Damaging the pitch
- Dangerous and unfair bowling
- Tampering with the ball
- Any other action that they consider to be unfair.
2.2.4 THE SPIRIT OF CRICKET INVOLVES RESPECT FOR:
- Your opponents
- Your own captain and team
- The role of the umpires
- The game’s traditional values
2.2.5 IT IS AGAINST THE SPIRIT OF CRICKET:
- To dispute an umpire’s decision by word, action or gesture
- To direct abusive language towards an opponent or umpire
- To indulge in cheating or any sharp practice, for instance:
- Appeal knowing the batsman is not out;
- Advance towards an umpire in an aggressive manner when appealing; and
- Seek to distract an opponent either verbally or by harassment with persistent clapping or unnecessary noise under the guise of enthusiasm and motivation of one’s own side.
There is no place for any act of violence on the field of play.
Captains and umpires together set the tone for the conduct of the cricket match. Every player is expected to make an important contribution to this.
Failure to comply with the provisions of the Code of Conduct may lead to disciplinary action, irrespective of a proven breach being related to a match not under the jurisdiction of the League.
- BREACHES AND REPORTING
3.1 Any participant in breach of the Code of Conduct shall be liable to penalties in the manner prescribed in the Disciplinary Regulations.
3.2 A breach of the Code of Conduct will normally be categorised as Level 1, 2, 3 or 4, as set out in Appendix 1.
3.3 Reporting of Breaches by umpires
3.3.1 Subject to paragraph 3.3.3, for a first Level 1 breach of the Code of Conduct in a match, the umpire(s) should warn the player as to their future conduct and advise them and their captain that any repetition in the match will result in a formal report.
3.3.2 If any player receiving such a warning then commits a further Level 1 breach in the match, the umpire(s) should advise them and their captain that they will be submitting a formal report.
3.3.3 Should the umpire(s) consider that the first Level 1 breach is sufficiently serious, they have the authority to decide to submit a formal report without having previously issued any warning. The player and their captain should be advised accordingly.
3.3.4 In all instances of any perceived Level 2, 3 or 4 breach, the umpire(s) should complete a formal discipline report.
3.3.5 Any alleged breach of the Code of Conduct subject to a report by an umpire should be notified by telephone by the umpire to the League Umpires Manager within 24 hours of the end of the match. The written report should be sent, preferably by email and be received by the Umpires Manager, who will inform the League Manager within 48 hours of the end of the match.
3.4 Reporting of Breaches by Participants
3.4.1 Any allegation of a breach of the Code of Conduct by a Participant made against another Participant which arises from an incident during the course of a match or on the field of play should be reported by the team’s captain to the umpire(s).
3.4.2 Any allegation of a breach of the Code of Conduct by a Participant made against another Participant which does not arise from an incident during the course of a match or on the field of play should, ideally, be notified to the League Manager promptly after the incident giving rise to the allegation. Subject to any direction from the League Manager, a written report should be produced, which should allow the League Manager to understand i) the background to the alleged incident, ii) why a breach of the Code of Conduct is alleged and iii) the Level of breach alleged. Where possible, notifications and reports should be submitted to the League Manager by a club secretary or directly through playcricket.com (or in such other manner as may be directed by the League Manager).
3.4.3 The League Manager shall have an overriding discretion to accept or decline reports submitted under paragraph 3.4.2. Save for exceptional circumstances, such reports shall not be accepted relating to any alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct which have been, or could have been, reported by an umpire pursuant to paragraph 3.3.5 (the League Manager may contact an umpire for their observations/views on allegations/the content of any report) or where there has been undue delay in making a notification or report.
3.4.4 The League Manager will communicate with the Disciplinary Committee Chairman as appropriate.
3.4.5 Any complaints submitted under paragraph 3.4.2 must be made in good faith. The submission of a report which is trivial, vexatious, made for tactical reasons or otherwise improper may itself be treated as a breach of the Code of Conduct under paragraph 2.1.9.
4.1 The League Manager shall, as soon as reasonably practicable following receipt of a report, inform the secretary of the concerned club (or other Participant as appropriate in the circumstances) that a report has been made.
4.2 Any Level 1 or Level 2 breach of the Code of Conduct should in the first instance be dealt with by the Participant’s club (in accordance with the guideline penalties detailed at paragraph 6 below), and the secretary of the club shall notify the League Manager within 48 hours of any action taken by the club or which it proposes to take.
4.3 Within 48 hours of receipt of notification from the secretary of the club as to its action or proposed action, the League Manager shall consider the matter and resolve:
- To take no further action except to record the complaint and notify the club of his decision; or
- To endorse any action taken by the club and confirm that no further action is required; or
iii. To refer the matter for a full disciplinary hearing (Disciplinary Hearing).
Level 3 or 4 complaints will automatically be subject to a Disciplinary Hearing.
- Disciplinary Hearing
5.1 At least seven days’ notice in writing of the Disciplinary Hearing shall be given to the Participant, either directly or via the secretary of the club as appropriate. The notice shall specify the alleged breach(es) of the Code of Conduct and the Level(s) of the alleged breach(es).
5.2 Where a charge against a player is referred to a Disciplinary Hearing, the captain and club may be charged separately under their responsibilities as set out in the Code of Conduct above.
5.3 In any case which is referred for a Disciplinary Hearing, the Discipline Chairman shall convene the Disciplinary Hearing within 14 days of the decision to refer. Any delay may only be granted at the discretion of the Chairman of the Disciplinary Panel (appointed in accordance with paragraph 5.6).
5.4 The accused Participant shall be entitled:
- To submit written statements ahead of the Disciplinary Hearing;
- To attend the Disciplinary Hearing;
- To state their case (in the case of a club, by its secretary or other official); and
- To be legally represented or supported by a colleague; and
- To call witnesses.
5.5 If the Participant is to have representation present at the Disciplinary Hearing then the details of that representation must be given to the Discipline Chairman not less than 48 hours before the date of the hearing.
5.6 The Disciplinary Hearing shall be conducted by a Disciplinary Panel appointed by the Discipline Chairman and shall consist of not less than three persons and not more than five persons drawn from a list approved by the League’s Management Committee. The Discipline Chairman shall appoint one of the Disciplinary Panel members to act as Chairman of the Disciplinary Panel. None of the Disciplinary Panel should be connected with the Participant or any relevant opponent at the time of the alleged breach, or any Participant who might directly benefit from any disciplinary action.
5.7 A Participant involved in disciplinary proceedings will be solely responsible for meeting such costs or expenses as it or they may incur, including the cost of any legal or other representation.
5.8 The standard of proof shall be on the balance of probabilities.
6.1 If at a Disciplinary Hearing a breach of the Code of Conduct is proved, the Disciplinary Panel shall have the power to impose one or more of the following penalties, together with such order as to coasts as it deems appropriate:
In the case of a player:-
- To require the player to submit appropriate letter(s) of apology within a specified time;
- To record a reprimand and to give a warning as to future conduct;
- To impose a fine, not to exceed £500;
- To suspend the player for one or more specified matches and/or for a stated period of time;
- To deduct League points from the player’s team; and
- To expel the player from the League.
As a guideline only the following penalties should be expected in regard to suspensions for matches:
Level 1 – 1 to 6 matches
Level 2 – 3 to 8 matches
Level 3 – 4 to 10 matches
Level 4 – A minimum of 10 matches
In the case of a club:-
- To require the club to submit appropriate letter(s) of apology within a specified time;
- To record a reprimand and to give a warning as to future conduct;
- To impose a fine;
- To deduct League points from the club’s team;
- To expel the club from any competitions of the League; and
- To relegate to any lower division of the League or to a ‘linked’ league.
In the case of any other Participant:-
- To require the Participant to submit appropriate letter(s) of apology within a specified time;
- To record a reprimand and to give a warning as to future conduct;
- To impose a fine, not to exceed £500;
- To suspend the Participant for one or more specified matches and/or for a stated period of time;
- To deduct League points from the Participant’s team; and
- To expel the Participant from the League.
6.2 Panels may take the following factors into account when determining the penalties to be imposed:
- If the accused Participant has pleaded guilty;
- The Participant’s previous disciplinary record;
- The position of the Participant (for example, if a player is a captain);
- The conduct of the Participant subsequent to them being warned and told that they will be reported;
- In any case involving a player, the regularity with which player plays cricket and at what level(s) of cricket they play (for example, a fixed period suspension of two weeks is likely to have a more serious impact upon an ECB registered cricketer who plays regularly when compared to a purely recreational player who plays infrequently); and
- Any other mitigating or aggravating factors relevant to circumstances of the breach.
6.3 The Disciplinary Panel shall have the power to suspend the operation of any part, or all, of the penalty it imposes for such a period and subject to such terms and conditions it deems appropriate.
6.4 Where applicable, penalties may be carried over to apply in the following season.
6.5 Decisions of the Disciplinary Panel (a finding that a complaint is proved or not proved or a decision on penalty) shall be by majority vote; where necessary the Disciplinary Panel Chairman shall have a casting vote.
6.6 In accordance with the Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) Regulations, it is envisaged that in any case where a suspension is lawfully imposed upon an ECB registered cricketer by the Disciplinary Panel such as a suspension shall be recognised by the CDC. ECB registered cricketers have a right to appeal to Appeal Panel of the CDC and, in the event a suspension is imposed upon an ECB registered cricketer by the Disciplinary Panel, the Discipline Chairman shall, as soon as practicable, report the matter in writing to i) the ECB Head of Cricket Operations (First Class) and ii) the ECB Head of Non-First Class Cricket.
7.1 Where a breach of the Code of Conduct has been proved at a Disciplinary Hearing, a Participant shall have the right of appeal. This right should only be exercised in good faith upon reasonable grounds. Where more than one Participant (e.g. a player and his club) appeals in relation to the same incident, they must do so separately.
7.2 A notice of appeal setting out the grounds must be given in writing to the Discipline Chairman within seven days of the decision of the Disciplinary Panel being communicated to the Participant in writing, together with a deposit. The amount of the deposit shall be £250 for each Club and £100 for each other Participant exercising their right to appeal.
7.3 If notice of appeal is given, the penalty shall not take effect pending the hearing of the appeal, which shall take place as soon as is practicable and in any event within 14 days of receipt of notice of the appeal.
7.4 The appeal shall be by way of a new hearing before an Appeal Panel (Appeal Hearing). The Appeal Panel shall be appointed by the Discipline Chairman and shall consist of not less than three persons and not more than five persons drawn from a list of approved by the League’s Management Committee. The Discipline Chairman shall appoint one of the Appeal Panel members to act as Chairman of the Appeal Panel. None of the Panel should have been part of the original Disciplinary Panel, be connected with the Participant or any relevant opponent at the time of the alleged breach, or any Participant who might directly benefit from disciplinary action. The Participant shall have the same rights of attendance and representation, and to call witnesses as they had before the Disciplinary Panel.
7.5 If the Participant is to have representation present at the hearing then the details of that representation must be given to the Discipline Chairman not less than 7 days before the date of the hearing.
7.6 Non-attendance at the Appeal Hearing by a Participant without good or valid reason for such non-attendance will automatically result in forfeiture of their right of appeal.
7.7 The Appeals Panel may confirm, vary or reverse the decision of the Disciplinary Panel and it shall have the power to increase the penalty and award costs of the Appeal Hearing and forfeit the whole or part of the deposit (in reaching its decision, the Appeal Panel may have regard to whether the right of appeal was exercised in good faith and upon reasonable grounds). Decisions of the Appeal Panel shall be by majority vote; where necessary, the Chairman shall have the casting vote.
7.8 The decision of the Appeals Panel shall be final and binding.
- Non-payment of fines
8.1 Any fine levied must be paid to the treasurer of the League within 28 days of the club being notified of such fine.
8.2 Any fines still outstanding by the end of the 28 day period shall be increased by 100% of the original fine. At the end of that period the secretary or chairman of the offending club shall be notified to the effect that the fine is outstanding and given a reminder that if after a further period of 14days from that reminder, the fine is still outstanding, a deduction of five points shall be made in regard to the team from which the fine arose (or, if the fine does not arise from a particular team, the club’s first team).
Appendix 1 – Breaches of Discipline.
Certain conduct, whether on or off the field of play amounting to a breach of the Laws of Cricket and/or the Spirit of Cricket has been categorised into 4 levels which are set out below:-
- Time wasting by either the fielding side or batting side
- Abuse of the cricket ground, equipment or fixtures
- Showing dissent at an umpire’s decision by word or action
- Using language that is obscene, offensive or insulting and or making of an obscene gesture
- Excessive appealing
- Showing serious dissent at an umpire’s decision by word or action
- Inappropriate and deliberate physical contact between players in the course of play
- Charging or advancing towards an umpire in an aggressive manner when appealing
- Deliberate and malicious distraction or obstruction on the field of play, regardless as to whether such conduct is deemed to be fair under law 42.5
- Throwing the ball at or near a player, umpire or official in an inappropriate and dangerous manner
- Using language or gesture that is obscene or of a serious insulting nature to another player, umpire, team official or spectator
- Changing the condition of the ball other than as permitted by Law 42.3
- The bowling of fast short pitched balls that result in the bowler being disallowed from bowling further in that innings
- Causing avoidable damage to the pitch contrary to Laws 42.13 and/or Law 42.14 that results in a five run penalty being awarded.
- Intimidating an umpire
- Threatening to assault another player, team official or spectator
- Using language or gesture that offend, insult, humiliate, intimidate, threaten, disparage or vilify another person on the basis of that person’s (or that person’s perceived) age, race, religion, sexual orientation, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin
- The deliberate bowling of any high full-pitched ball contrary to Law 42.8
- Threatening an umpire
- Physical assault of another player, umpire, official or spectator
- Any act of violence on the field of play
- Using language or gestures that seriously offend, insult, humiliate, intimidate, threaten, disparage or vilify another person on the basis of that person’s (or that person’s perceived) age, race, religion, sexual orientation, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin.
The conduct listed in Level 1 to Level 4 above cannot be considered to be exhaustive.