To all clubs
At the pre-season meetings all clubs were reminded that there is no place in our game for obscene, abusive or foul language. Sadly, and to the detriment of the game, the Board has received a significant number of reports which describe in great detail, abusive and threatening behaviour by some players, much of which has been directed at young players under the age of 18 or within their hearing. Complaints have been received from umpires, captains, players, and in those cases where Under 18 players have been involved, Child Welfare Officers and parents, some of who have questioned whether their sons should continue to play the game at this level. Reports received from Child Welfare Officers have emphasised their legal responsibility and that of everyone involved in cricket have to look after the welfare and development of our young players.
At that pre-season meeting a number of senior captains indicated their concern about player behaviour generally, behaviour which they felt was getting worse and well beyond a level that is consistent with the Spirit of Cricket.
It is clear to the WEPL Board that this behaviour cannot, and will not, be tolerated and all Clubs are directed to remind captains that they are responsible for all the actions of their players at all times. Captains also have a legal responsibility to exercise a duty of care for all junior players aged eighteen and below, and it is worth emphasising that this responsibility extends to opposition players as well as their own. This duty of care is a legal responsibility which carries with it obvious consequences if not maintained.
Player behaviour is the sole responsibility of captains and NOT the responsibility of the umpire.
Reports have also been received of threats of a physical nature to opposition players both during and after the game and, most recently, allegations of verbal abuse of female bar staff following a game.
Recreational cricket is losing umpires and administrators at an alarming rate and young players in particular are leaving the game, largely as a consequence of the behaviours indicated above and, taken together, the overall effect threatens to undermine the recreational game we all enjoy.
From now on, umpires will be directed to report any player using gratuitous foul, abusive or threatening language and captains will be held responsible for the behaviour reported. Clubs will be expected to carry out the penalties set out in our disciplinary regulations and, depending upon the circumstances reported by the umpires, Clubs may well face significant points deductions.
In sending this letter to all WEPL Clubs, the Board recognise that there are a great many players who do play the game according to The Spirit of Cricket and act as positive role models for young players, but the Board and the ECB are determined that those who chose to resort to unacceptable behaviour for whatever reason, will be punished.
Allan Taylor, WEPL Standards Committee Chairman
Chris Pannell, WEPL Disciplinary Panel Chairman