The ECB has announced that the ECB Officials Association (OA) is now operational and has already attracted hundreds of applications for membership. Insurance cover for the 2006 season is in place.
A Membership Officer, Lucy Morris, has been appointed and has already started work at Lord�s. A Steering Group has been set up to oversee the implementation of the Officials Association and includes representatives from all relevant bodies including the MCC and the Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers. (ACU&S)
Chris Kelly, who joined ECB in February 2006 in the new post of Umpires and Match Officials Manager after four years as Umpires and Referees Manager for ICC, said: �This is an exciting opportunity to create an organisation to represent all umpires and scorers in this country under the auspices of the ECB. We are discussing with ACU&S how best to build on their significant contribution to umpiring and scoring over the years and to put in place a structure that will give umpires and scorers local involvement and representation within their County Board area combined with regional and national representation. We want to encourage more youngsters to umpire and score and we are putting in place a pathway to allow officials with talent to develop as far as their abilities take them � and for some that could be the highest levels of the game.�
Frank Kemp, ECB Head of Operations for Non First Class Cricket, added: �Anyone who umpires or scores can become a member of ECB OA, including those outside England and Wales, just as coaches from other countries are welcome within the ECB Coaches Association.
�We will have training courses available in the autumn covering different levels of qualification for umpires and scorers, and we will recognise existing qualifications � no-one will have to retake an exam they have already passed once!�