The chairman of Sussex Cricket Ltd has issued a warning to all players because ‘behavioural standards’ are ‘deteriorating’.
In an email sent to all league clubs, chairman Bob Warren said it appears from written and visual reports that ‘so-called sledging seems to have gone from banter to vitriol with use of swear words much more prevalent’ and standards have dropped compared to previous years.
Warren said the league has lost several umpires over the last two seasons because of the bad language and disrespect shown to umpires and opponents.
The full email from Mr Warren said: “It has come to the notice of the Sussex Cricket Ltd board that behavioural standards in the Sussex Premier Cricket League are deteriorating when compared to previous years.
“It would appear from both visual and written reports that so-called sledging seems to have gone from banter to vitriol with use of swear words much more prevalent.
“This is not acceptable; we have lost several umpires over the last two seasons because the level of bad language and disrespect shown to both umpires and opponents has reached unacceptable levels.
“This sort of behaviour goes completely against both the Laws of the game and the “Spirit of Cricket”. Under the Laws of cricket it states quite clearly that the captain is responsible for the behaviour of his team.
“I have, therefore, asked the SPCL to instruct their umpires that if persistent bad language does occur in a match where they are officiating then they should advise the captain of the offending team that if it doesn’t stop then the captain, and possibly the club, will face disciplinary action.
“This type of instruction should not be necessary but players must respect their opponents and our officials, if we fail to do this then our wonderful game will deteriorate further. This is a situation which none of us wants to see.”
Sussex League hon.secretary and chairman of the Sussex Association of Cricket Officals (SACO) followed this up with an email to all panel umpires.
He said: "The SPCL fully supports its contents. I ask you, in particular, to note the next to last paragraph, which by sending this email, I am doing as Bob requests.
"We have had a number of complaints from Team Captains in the last few weeks of actions on the field of play, which, although they have clearly broken the League’s Disciplinary Code, have not been reported by Umpires. If this is true it must not continue.
"You are all asked to make sure you are conversant with the League’s Code of Conduct and that you make the appropriate reports as and when necessary so that all Umpires are seen to be acting consistently."