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New Zealand Cricket scraps match-referees from first-class games

NZC is expected to run at a multi-million dollar loss this year and is expected to cut a number of programmes, the biggest being the decision to axe the three fulltime match referees, who have overseen every top-level domestic cricket match over the past two seasons.

Their primary responsibilities have been to assess umpire performance and ensure all grounds are up to playing standard, but NZC head of cricket Lindsay Crocker said there is no room for them in this year's budget.


It wasn't a cheap programme given we had to pay them, travel them round and pay for accommodation.

"This year we're under pretty restrictive budgets and it was really disappointing but it was a programme we are simply unable to afford.

"If we had more income then we would be able to do all the programmes we wanted, it's just the nature of running a business and trying to compete on world terms with a budget smaller than our competitors."

The match referees were believed to cost between $150,000-$200,000 per year.

There would be other internal areas that would have to be scaled back as well, Crocker said.

Coming off a bumper result from hosting the Cricket World Cup, one would expect the coffers to be full, but Crocker said that money would be used to build a legacy.

"The World Cup was a one-off, it isn't a matter of making a nest egg and then expending it.

"We've got to be prudent about that, it gives us an opportunity to sit out any future rainy days and there is also some investment we need to do around facilities.


The Cricket World Cup money and the legacy we attach from there is really around capital projects rather than operational ones.

The cutbacks and budget were yet to be approved by the NZC board, so Crocker was not able to comment on what other programmes might be cut back.

Umpires will now revert back to receiving feedback via captains reports and from NZC umpire coach Tony Hill as he travels to certain games, which was the process before the match referees started.

On-field player conduct incidents, such as Jesse Ryder's expletive-laden outburst at an umpire's decision last season which earned him a one-week ban, will return to being policed by umpires, with no match referee to act as a buffer.

Ground conditions will go back to being assessed by umpires, with Crocker calling on the regional associations to take care of the fundamentals of the setup of the ground.

"Things like the sight screen setup, boundary markings, player facilities, all the things which fall broadly under the warrant of fitness for grounds were assessed by the match referees who would arrive 24 hours before the game.

"Now we'll be asking the people who host the matches, the major associations, to step up and take responsibility for quality again."

 Source - Stuff

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