Blind Cricket Off Field Regulations

Blind Cricket Regulations

These rules and procedures are of primary concern to club executives and blind cricket officials managing off-field matters. Part A deals with sight classification, Part B with player registration and ties, Part C with club participation in the various competitions on offer and Part D with disciplinary matters.

Part A: Sight Classification Procedures

A1 Introduction
In the past, disputes about sight classification have been detrimental to blind cricket. It is important therefore that the following procedures are followed. This will enable BCEW to keep proper records and will help to minimise conflict on the subject.

A2 Classification
A2.1 No person shall be permitted to participate in blind cricket without being officially registered as blind or partially sighted. In the UK, this normally means that a BD8 or CVI will have been issued.
A2.2 All players should then be further classified by a recognized body and the classification should state both the nature and the degree of their sight impairment. Classifications that will be accepted include those conducted by World Blind Cricket Ltd, IPC, IBSA and BBS.
A2.3 All new players must seek classification by such a body within six weeks of playing in their first BCEW competitive match. Having taken the required sight tests, they should advise the BCEW Business & Competitions Director of the results and supply any supporting documentation that may be requested.
A2.4 Until formally classified, a new player’s sight category may be estimated, but it is important that this period of grace should not be abused. If an estimate is not confirmed by a subsequent test, the BCEW committee will inevitably have to review the matter.
A2.5 If the committee considers that there is reason to believe that an estimate is grossly wrong, they may suspend the player involved until a formal classification has been carried out.

A3 Sight Parameters
A3.1 BCEW Will classify all players under their own sight categories, Total, Low Partial, Mid Partial and High Partial. These categories are partly based on the sight categories used in international blind sport B1, B2 and B3.
A3.1.1 A B1 competitor may have some light perception, but not the ability to count fingers at any distance or in any direction.
A3.1.2 A B2 will have vision up to an acuity of 2/60 or a visual field of less than 10 degrees in the better eye after correction.
A3.1.3 A B3 will have vision up to an acuity of 6/60 or a visual field of less than 40 degrees in the better eye after correction.
A3.2 Domestic sport, including cricket, has long had a fourth category called B4 which covers players with a visual acuity of up to 6/24 and up to a full field of vision.
A3.2.1 An emerging category recognised by some sports is B5, which includes players with an acuity of up to 6/18 and a full field.
A3.3 Domestic cricket recognizes another category at the other end of the spectrum known as low partial.
A3.3.1 This category is designed for those players who fall in the lower half of the B2 category and don’t have sufficient sight to perform at the same level as other partially sighted players. The status is a discretionary one to be granted on application by the BCEW committee or its nominated subcommittee.
A3.3.2 An application for classification as a low partial may be made by a club or the player concerned but, either way, should be addressed to the BCEW Business & Competitions Director.
A3.3.3 Normally, an initial grant of low partial status will be for a limited period only, but, in all cases, the status is one which should be kept under review. If circumstances warrant it, the classification can be revoked at any time.
A3.4 In exceptional cases the foregoing principles and procedures may be applied in the situation where players suffer from additional medical conditions making it impossible for them to perform at a standard typical of a player with their sight classification. Subject to the production of appropriate medical evidence, the BCEW committee may allow them to play at a lower level, most importantly as a B3 instead of a B4, but this type of concession must always be granted subject to the prospect of especially rigorous ongoing scrutiny.
A3.4.1 In Regional League and Cup competitions, these rules may also be applied so as to permit a B5 to play as a B4, and the concession will also be available to a B5 with a deteriorating sight condition, but subject to the additional proviso that such a player must take an annual sight test.

A4 BCEW Sight Categories
A4.1 A total is any player with a B1 certificate who is prepared to have his eyes covered by BCEW-approved blackout shades or who has been exempted from this requirement.
A4.1.1 Such exemption will be available to any player with purely prosthetic eyes or empty sockets and will be granted by the BCEW committee or its designated subcommittee on production of acceptable evidence that these conditions are satisfied.
A4.1.2 Anyone who has been granted low partial status may opt to play in a match as a total so long as they wear BCEW-approved shades.
A4.2 A low partial is a player who has been granted this status or one with a B1 certificate who is not prepared to wear shades.
A4.3 A mid partial is anyone with a B2 or B3 certificate, who has not been granted low partial status, or a B4 who, pursuant to rule A3.4, has been granted permission to play as a B3.
A4.4 A high partial is anyone with a B4 certificate or, in the case of a Regional League or Cup competition, a B5 who, pursuant to rule A3.4.1, has been granted permission to play as a B4.
A4.5 Where a total or low partial has a right to opt between categories, the effect of the election will be limited solely to the match in question, but will be irrevocable once the toss has taken place.

A5 Ongoing Testing
Sight classifications will generally remain in effect indefinitely, but, where players consider that their sight has deteriorated, they will be at liberty to take a new test and seek to be reclassified at any time.

Action will however be required in the following situations:
a) Juniors reaching the age of 18 with a sight classification which is more than 6 months old, must comply with the rules applicable to new players.
b) Players with a sight classification, which indicates that their sight is likely to improve, must be reclassified within a period not exceeding 4 years.
c) Established players who are placed in a higher category after a test demanded by some other sport must notify the BCEW Business & Competitions Director immediately.

A6 Sight Classification Challenges
A6.1 Any club wishing to challenge the sight classification of another club’s player must do so by writing to the BCEW Business & Competitions Director. If concerns are expressed by two clubs relating to the same player, this will activate the ECB’s Whistleblowing Policy.
A6.2 This means that the BCEW committee will have to pass the matter on to the ECB who will arrange any medical examinations or quasi judicial hearings they deem necessary.
A6.3 Notwithstanding the above obligation to facilitate this procedure, The BCEW committee may initiate it of its own volition if it becomes aware of circumstances giving cogent grounds for concern.

Part B: Player Registration and Ties

B1 Player Eligibility
B1.1 At the end of each season, all players will be free agents and eligible for registration by any club so long as they are not subject to ongoing disciplinary proceedings at their former club or have undischarged legal obligations to it. Subject to this restriction, they may register for more than one club, but not for two National League clubs or two Regional League clubs playing in the same league. There will also be an additional restriction for players ranked as ‘experienced’ within the meaning of section C5 of the Blind Cricket Playing Rules. They may only register for one Regional League club.
B1.2 Players registered with a team, which is closely linked with a school or college, will be deemed to have been released from all obligations to it at the end of the relevant institution’s academic year.

B2 Provisional List
By the end of February each year, clubs must furnish the Business & Competitions Director with a list of all the players they wish to register for the coming season. The details supplied should include each player’s forename and surname and his/her actual or estimated sight classification.

B3 Subsequent Additions
By following the same procedure, clubs may add further players to their list, but this will not entitle them to select any player in breach of an established tie to another club.

B4 Ties
B4.1 Any player who competes for a club in any competition, including a player released from duties of loyalty pursuant to rule B1.2, will not be permitted to play for any other club in that competition for the rest of the season. It should, however, be noted that participation in a regional T20 competition will not count as participation in the BCEW David Townley Memorial Twenty20 Cup.
B4.2 Where players are tied to a National League club, the restriction will also operate to prevent them representing any other National League club in the BCEW Primary Club Heindrich Swanepoel Cup or the BCEW David Townley Memorial Twenty20 Cup, but where a club opts not to enter one or other of these events, its players will be free to play for any other club participating in it.
B4.3 In all other situations involving cup competitions, a player who is registered with two clubs will be entitled to choose which one to represent.

B5 Special Rules Relating to Cup Finals
B5.1 It shall not be permissible for a club playing in a cup final to select a player who is not genuinely connected with it. If the player in question has not previously played for it earlier in the season, the question of eligibility must be referred to the BCEW committee which, in reaching its decision, should, inter alia, have regard to:
a) The date on which the club first sought to register the player,
b) The date of the player’s most recent sight classification,
c) Whether the player has played for the club in the past and
d) Whether the player has recently been playing for another club in some other BCEW competition.
B5.2 Notwithstanding the result of such deliberations, the BCEW committee will be empowered to grant dispensations up to a maximum of one guest player per applicant club, but only if it is necessary for the match to take place and subject to the following conditions.
B5.3 Guest players should not be permitted to bat in the top six or to bowl more than 10% of the overs required to be bowled, but, where the guest player is a total, these rules will be relaxed to the extent necessary to enable the club to comply with the rules governing the minimum level of participation by totals.

Part C: Club Participation in Competitions

C1 Deadlines
All clubs wishing to take part in any competition being run by BCEW should make their intentions known to the BCEW Business & Competitions Director by the end of October prior to the season in question. The draws for all knock-out competitions will take place immediately after the BCEW AGM.

C2 National League
C2.1 Any club which has not played in the National League during the previous season will only be admitted to it if it receives the support of a majority of existing National League members.
C2.2 If the number of participating teams is eight or more, the league should be split into two divisions with the top teams from the previous year’s competition going into the top division and all others into the lower division. As far as possible, teams should be divided equally between the two divisions, but, in the event of unequal numbers, the extra team will go into the lower division.
C2.3 At the end of each season, the bottom team in the top division will be relegated to the lower division and the top team in the lower division promoted to the top division. If further teams are admitted to the league and join the lower division, or if teams drop out of the league, the position of equality or near-equality between the divisions should be maintained by means of increasing the number of promotions or relegations.
C2.4 Where a division contains 5 or fewer teams, the competition will take the form of a double round robin. Where there are 6 or more, it will be a single round robin.
C2.5 If the number of teams participating in a single round robin means that it is mathematically impossible for the number of their home and away matches to be equal, the BCEW Business & Competitions Director will make every effort to redress any previous imbalances when the following season’s fixture list is drawn up.

C3 The BCEW Primary Club Heindrich Swanepoel Cup
C3.1 All National League clubs will be eligible to enter this national cup competition, but, if the number of entries is less than eight, the BCEW committee will be at liberty to select other teams according to such criteria as they may from time to time determine.
C3.2 If there are more than eight entries from National League teams, there should be a preliminary round with sufficient fixtures to reduce the number of competing clubs to eight.
C3.3 The clubs required to play in such a preliminary round will, in the first place, comprise, or be chosen by lot from among those which did not enter the competition the previous season or, having entered it, failed to fulfil their fixture, but, if the operation of this rule fails to generate the requisite number of fixtures, the numbers should be made up by the club or clubs with the lowest finishing position in the previous season’s National League.

C4 BCEW Regional Leagues and Cup Competitions
C4.1 Any club which has not participated in a BCEW Competition during the previous season must provide evidence of its capacity to thrive and fulfil its fixtures. In assessing this evidence, the BCEW committee should ask their Development Director and Business & Competitions Director to prepare a report on the matter. Factors to be considered should include whether the club has:
• A constitution or autonomous status within a bigger organisation;
• A bank account;
• A managing Committee of at least 3 officers;
• A welfare officer;
• Public liability insurance;
• A list of at least 12 players;
• A name which includes the name of a county, city or region as its first word;
• Experience of playing friendly matches.
C4.2 As soon as the numbers of would-be participants have been ascertained, the BCEW committee shall, after consulting with the clubs involved, seek to draw appropriate boundaries for the various regions and decide whether league competitions should take the form of single or double round robins. In relation to the draws for knock-out cups, all clubs should be ranked equally.
C4.3 Payment of Match Officials
Clubs participating in Regional League and Cup competitions will be responsible for paying the fees due to umpires and scorers in accordance with directions to be issued by the BCEW Business & Competitions Director at the beginning of each season.

C5 The BCEW David Townley Memorial Twenty20 Cup
C5.1 The competition will be open to all clubs regardless of league membership, but any club which did not enter the competition during the previous season or which entered it and then failed to fulfil a fixture will only be permitted to enter if it provides evidence of a credible squad by the end of the October prior to the next competition.
C5.2 If a preliminary round is needed in order to reduce the number of participating teams, any club which did not participate, or failed to fulfil a fixture, in the previous season’s competition will automatically be entered in it. On the other hand, the previous season’s finalists will be given a bye so long as this doesn’t generate the need for an extra round.

Part D: Disciplinary Procedures

D1 Commencement
D1.1 Any member of the BCEW committee receiving a complaint or match report or other information about conduct appearing to indicate a breach of BCEW rules or conduct proscribed by MCC Laws 41 or 42, should draw it to the attention of the rest of the committee, but no member of the committee who, or whose club, is the party alleged to be in default, or whose club is a complainant, shall be permitted to participate in the proceedings described below.
D1.2 If the committee thinks it appropriate, it should instruct one of its number, ideally the Governance Director, to seek further evidence from the parties involved in the relevant events, including clubs, match officials or players and especially the party alleged to be in default.
D1.3 Where BCEW wishes to seek information from individuals, but is not in possession of their contact details, it shall be sufficient to address the requisite enquiries to the club or clubs with which they are most closely associated.

D2 Forum
D2.1 If, on appraising this evidence, the committee determines that there is a prima facie case to answer, it must then assess the gravity of the issues raised. If it considers a case to be straightforward and susceptible of being disposed of in a summary manner, it should aim to deal with it itself.
D2.2 Any case concerning the misuse of drugs will be dealt with by the ECB in accordance with its Anti-doping Policy.
D2.3 Any other case deemed to be particularly serious or raising complex legal questions should be referred to the ECB and, if the ECB accepts jurisdiction, will be dealt with exclusively under ECB procedures.
D2.4 For any other case involving a serious dispute of fact or appearing likely to raise difficult sentencing issues, the committee must set up a Challenge and Disciplinary Panel (CDP). This should comprise a non-voting Chairman, normally the Chairman or Vice Chairman of the BCEW committee and three other members of the committee, although, where necessary, other suitably qualified individuals may be co-opted. In addition to the committee members already excluded from the disciplinary process, the CDP should not include any party whose club might reasonably be seen as standing to benefit from any sanction likely to be imposed.

D3 Determination of Facts and Sentences
D3.1 The committee or CDP must forthwith review the available evidence and consider whether further enquiries are necessary. Once it is satisfied with the quantity and quality of the evidence available, the party alleged to be in default must be formally notified of the charge or charges, provided with a copy of all the relevant testimony and allowed a minimum of 7 days in which to comment on it.
D3.1.1 Where such party is an individual and BCEW has still not been furnished with the required contact details, it shall, as under 3D1.3 above, be sufficient to send this notice to the relevant club or clubs.
D3.1.2 If the party receiving or deemed to have received such notice admits liability or fails to reply, the committee or CDP may proceed immediately to impose an appropriate penalty, which may include any or all of the following:
In the case of an individual:
a) A formal reprimand,
b) An actual or suspended playing ban or
c) Expulsion or a period of exclusion from the BCEW committee.
In the case of a club:
d) An actual or suspended points deduction,
e) A fine and/or payment of compensation to an individual or other club,
f) Forfeit of the toss in future matches,
g) Forfeit of home advantage in cup matches or
h) Expulsion or exclusion from relevant competitions.

D3.2 As far as possible, sanctions imposed should be in line with previous decisions in similar cases, but it will always be appropriate to take account of things like an early guilty plea or bad behaviour during the adjudication process. In the case of multiple offences, it will be for the Committee or CDP to decide whether sentences should be served concurrently or consecutively. In relation to potential playing bans arising pursuant to MCC Law 42, the suggested guidelines will be:
For a Level 1 offence, up to 2matches;
For a level 2 offence, up to 3 matches;
For a Level 3 offence, up to 4 matches;
For a Level 4 offence, up to 5 matches.
D3.2.1 Where an offender plays for more than one club, the extent of any playing ban will be measured by reference to the fixtures of the club most closely connected with the relevant misconduct, but, until the ban has been served, it will also prevent the offender from playing for any other club.
D3.2.2 In reckoning the serving of a ban, a cancelled fixture may only be counted if the offender’s club is in no way responsible for the cancellation and has consequently been credited with some or all of the points awardable for the match.
D3.2.3 Should an offender change clubs before a ban has been completed, the unserved portion of it will be automatically transferred to the receiving club’s fixtures.
D3.3 If a case is still being managed by the committee and the allegations are denied, it should be transferred forthwith to a CDP. Where a CDP is presented with conflicting testimony, it may opt to seek further evidence and allow the party alleged to be in default at least 3 days to comment on anything which is forthcoming. Once the CDP is satisfied that all the evidence has been gathered, it may proceed to make its decision or opt to arrange for a personal hearing, but must adopt this latter course if the alleged defaulter so demands it.
D3.4 The CDP may conduct a personal hearing face to face or by means of a telephone conference. The parties entitled to attend along with the members of the CDP, will be the alleged defaulter and any complainant. These parties must be given at least 7 days’ notice of the time and place of the hearing and allowed to present oral testimony. Clubs must be represented by one of their officers, but both they and any individual party may be accompanied, at their own expense, by a professional advocate or friendly third party.
D3.5 At the close of the hearing, all interested parties must be informed of the decision by the Chairman of the CDP and sent a copy of the final report. After receiving this communication, any party found to have been in default will have 5 days in which to serve notice of appeal, either against the penalty imposed or the decision as a whole. Such notice should be sent in writing to the Chairman of the CDP who will receive it on behalf of the BCEW committee.

D3.6 On receiving a notice of appeal, the BCEW committee must establish a fresh Panel, under the supervision of the same Chairman, but consisting of different personnel. The procedures for the appeal will be the same as those outlined above, save that the determination of the second panel will be final. Defaulters should note that, on an appeal, it is possible that penalties may be increased.
D3.7 Any penalty imposed by either Panel will take effect:
a) When the defaulter gives notice of an intention not to appeal,
b) When the date for serving notice of appeal has passed or
c) Immediately upon the publication of the outcome of an appeal.

Last Updated: February 2022