Sussex Premier Cricket League could adopt yellow and red cards

Yellow and red cards could be introduced to the Sussex Premier Cricket League - but not for the 2017 season.

Sussex League umpires will be given more powers on the field to discipline players
Sussex League umpires will be given more powers on the field to discipline players

The MCC’s world cricket committee has recommended umpires should have the power to send off players in cases of threats to an umpire, physically assaulting another player, umpire, official or spectator.

The punishment is set to come into force from October this year when the MCC redrafts the laws of cricket.

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Discipline has got worse in recent years and research by Portsmouth University recently revealed that 56.2 per cent of 763 umpires surveyed had experienced verbal abuse while 21 had reported physical violence.

A fifth of the respondents said they had given up umpiring due to increased levels of abuse. Five club matches were suspended in England last year due to violence.

Five matches in England were abandoned in 2015 due to violence.

In the 2017 season, the Sussex League’s Premier Division will be subject to the ECB Recreational Cricket Code of Conduct. The other Divisions will continue with the SPCL Code of Conduct, which is not so severe as the ECB Code.

So how important is it that umpires are given these powers?

Sussex League secretary Terry Burstow said: “In some cases it is most important. If a player commits an act of violence on the field, currently umpires do not have the power to ‘send him off.’ Cricket is one of only two sports where this the case. This is something that really must change.

“Yellow and red cars will not be introduced in 2017 but some or possibly all elements in 2018, depending on how 2017 goes.”

And Burstow is expecting the new punishing minutes to make a difference? He said: “If the level of Discipline continues to get worse then playing bans will become more numerous and longer.”

These changes will be a big change for umpires, especially in recreational cricket. Burstow said: “Some perhaps will not be comfortable with the new ‘power’ but most will.

“If it is brought in I think discipline will improve, especially if penalty runs are involved. Miscreants will be controlled by their colleagues in the team.”

It will be a big change for players to and it’s down to the clubs and the captains to control their players. So how will they react to the new laws and procedures? Burstow said: “The proof of the Pudding will be in the 2017 season.”