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Umpires dumped over World Cup fiasco

cricket Updated: Jun 24, 2007 01:03 IST
Julian Linden
Julian Linden
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The five match officials whose blunder caused the farcical ending to this year's World Cup final have been sacked for the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in September.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) said umpires Steve Bucknor, Aleem Dar, Rudi Koertzen, Billy Bowden and match referee Jeff Crowe would be left out of the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa as punishment for their mistake.

"It would have been easy to let sleeping dogs lie and pretend nothing happened," ICC Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Speed said in a statement.

"But the reality is that the playing control team made a serious and fundamental error that caused the final of our flagship event to end in disarray and confusion.

"That was not acceptable for such experienced and talented officials and although we do not like to have to take such action, we felt it was necessary to decline to appoint them for our next event, the ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa."

The ICC was heavily criticised for the way it organised this year's World Cup after the event ended in farcical circumstances.

Australia easily beat Sri Lanka in the final at Barbados but the showpiece match was marred by an embarrassing blunder that saw the teams forced to play out the last few overs in virtual darkness.

The match should have been declared over when Sri Lanka accepted an offer to go off because of bad light, but the officials failed to apply one of the basic rules of rain-shortened matches and made the players go back out even though the Australians had already begun celebrating.

The critics had already complained that the 47-day tournament was far too long and lacked atmosphere because of lopsided matches and half-empty stadiums.

Crowe admitted the five match officials had made a mistake and said the ICC was right to punish them for their error.

"While it is never easy to take criticism, I think it is right that there are consequences for our actions as match officials. In this instance I understand that the ICC could not merely let it go," Crowe said in a statement.

"We set ourselves high standards as match officials and at the end of that day we did not reach those standards. It was not a pleasant experience for us but hopefully now we can look forward and learn from it."