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ACO Umpires Win Court Battle

In a recent court case, two ECB Association of Cricket Officials members from the Midlands were subject to a claim for damages following an injury to a player. Bartlett v ECB Association of Cricket Officials has been concluded with the judgement in favour of the umpires and the ACO.

The claimant was captain of a cricket team who wanted to call off a match as he considered the conditions to be dangerous due to heavy rainfall. The opposition disagreed. The umpires inspected the pitch and outfield on a number of occasions before declaring both fit for play. Just after the start of the match, the claimant performed a ‘sliding stop’ and injured his knee and subsequently blamed the umpires for allowing play in unfit and dangerous conditions.

The umpires, who are members of the ACO, were supported throughout the hearing by the ACO, the insurers and the appointed legal team.

The court found that while umpires owed a duty of care to the players to enforce the rules so as to minimise inherent dangers of injury, the umpires had carried out a thorough and careful inspections of the ground before reaching their decision. The fact that the grass was wet did not mean that conditions were dangerous.

The growth in use of ‘No win No fee’ lawyers increases the prospect of litigation more likely as this was the case of our colleagues in the Midlands. The legal costs to defend this case have been in excess of £100,000 all of which was covered for the ACO members.

Insurance is one of the benefits of ACO membership and all 521 members in Lancashire know that if things go wrong on the field or when travelling to and from their match they have comprehensive insurance cover. There are many others umpiring cricket across the county who are not members of the ACO. Clubs and leagues should ensure that everyone umpiring on the field of play has adequate insurance cover. There is no requirement to attend an ACO course to become a member although DBS clearance, which is done at no cost to applicants, is mandatory.

The LCB ACO runs umpire and scorer courses across Lancashire details of which can be found here.

If you or someone in your league or club wants to take out membership the application form can be downloaded at http://www.ecb.co.uk/ecb/ecb-association-of-cricket-officials 

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