Wednesday 16 January 2008
Comment: ICUS Supports Umpires Bucknor & Benson
In an unprecedented decision, we see that an elite panel umpire has been removed from a match list because of criticism and complaints about his performance. We have the spectacle of a professional umpire left isolated with no form of redress or rebuttal against those criticising him.
The treatment of Steve Bucknor is unfair, unjust, unprofessional, unacceptable, and against the Spirit of the Game. Umpires should not be abandoned as a result of adverse criticism, from any source.
Umpires and captains have the responsibility for ensuring that the game of cricket is played according to the Laws and in the Spirit of the Game. It seems that little of that spirit is afforded to umpires. This damages respect for the game and its umpires, at all levels. Steve Bucknor should have been afforded proper treatment by his employers which should have included private performance assessment and a commitment to have him resume umpiring international cricket in the near future.
ICUS is unequivocal in its complete support for Steve Bucknor and his colleague, Mark Benson. Such instances provide further evidence of the need for a completely independent body which can represent umpires at all levels of the game. Support for umpire Bucknor has not come from official cricket organisations; it has come from professional players and journalists who are speaking out against an injustice and voicing concern for the future of cricket and the officials who stand in the game.
The acceptance of the umpire’s decision is at the very heart of cricket. It is an unacceptable “blame game” to publicly remove an umpire from an upcoming appointment when decisions taken in good faith, made honestly and to the best of his ability, are not accepted without it resulting in a world wide incident.
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