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Hants punished for Parsons presence

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An England and Wales Cricket Board disciplinary panel comprising Christopher Tickle (chairman), Simon Schanschieff and Cliff Pocock met to hear an allegation that Hampshire had fielded an ineligible player in a Second Xl Championship match in April 2008.

Hampshire admitted contravening Directive 1.1 of the ECB Directives by fielding a player, Tom Parsons, in a Second XI Championship match who was registered by another county.

Parsons grew up in Kent and is attending Loughborough University. He represented Kent at various age groups as well as playing second XI cricket and he was registered by Kent on July 13, 2007. He was not contracted to the county.

The player attended a UCCE event at Lord’s; more than 60 young players were present. He spoke to the Hampshire coach, Raj Maru, who subsequently recommended him to Giles White, the county’s second XI coach.

White was aware that Parsons had played for Kent 1st XI in a one-day tourist fixture, but made no further enquiry. He assumed that as Parsons was not under contract, his registration would have lapsed at the end of the 2007 season.

Kent’s registration list was published on April 10, 2008.

Parsons played for Hants 2nd XI against Sussex 2nd XI in the championship on April 16, 2008. The match was drawn; Hants received 12 points in total.

In June 2008, Hants offered the player a summer contract and applied to register him. It was then that the county discovered that Parsons was registered with Kent.

Tim Tremlett, director of cricket at Hampshire, then contacted Kent, who agreed, after consideration, to a loan arrangement for the rest of the season.

The panel are quite satisfied that no blame whatsoever attaches to the cricketer. He was not under contract to any county and did not appreciate the registration rules.

The panel also find that Hampshire did not deliberately try and avoid the regulations – it was an oversight.

It was admitted that they did not look at the list of registered players (circulated to all counties) closely.

They failed to make the checks which would have avoided the problem or make any enquiries about a player who was new to them.

Further, Hampshire had no system in place which would have revealed that the player was registered with another county.

The panel consider that that should be the responsibility of the senior executive officer, who should ensure that the relevant personnel in the club are aware of the Directives and Regulations of the ECB insofar as they impact on their roles, and what they should do when they wish to play uncontracted players or players whom are not known to be registered with the club.

In the circumstances, and particularly having regard to the absence of any recognised procedure, the panel consider that half the points gained by Hampshire in the match should be forfeited, and that to reinforce the importance of the registration requirements, a fine of £500 should be imposed.

In addition to the forfeiture of six points and the fine of £500, the county will be required to pay costs of £500.

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