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Umpires want protection from yobbos

English umpires are to seek tighter security at Twenty20 matches following abuse by unruly, inebriated spectators.

cricket Updated: Jul 03, 2007 19:24 IST

English umpires are to seek tighter security at Twenty20 matches following abuse by unruly spectators under the effects of alcohol.

Peter Willey, chairman of the first-class umpires association, is to raise the matter with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after incidents at smaller grounds this year.

"This has happened because the weather has been so bad," Willey was quoted as telling The Times on Tuesday.

"In past years the sun has shone, but this season spectators have sat around drinking pints and perhaps the information they have been given over the Tannoy has not been as good as it should have been."

"There is adequate protection at the big grounds...(but) the outgrounds are a different matter because spectators can approach the players."

Willey believes match officials need to be protected from potential troublemakers and says clubs should hire extra security staff.

"There might be some clubs who will be reluctant to employ security guards, but how expensive is a life? Those clubs would not want to be sued."

"And we don't want the kids to hear foul and abusive language."

The issue of bad behaviour came up at an emergency ECB meeting held with county chief executives last week to discuss the weather that has hit the Twenty20 schedule.

The board is now set to host a special seminar on best practice in crowd management.

The aim is "to seek to eliminate unruly crowd behaviour which, whilst infrequent at cricket, is a matter which the ECB and the counties wish proactively to ensure does not creep into the game," the ECB said in a statement.