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Saturday, 16 March, 2002, 14:55 GMT
ICC takes action on refs
Protesters in Delhi
Denness provoked outrage in India last November
The role of the Test match referee is to be overhauled by the game's governing body as a result of the Mike Denness controversy.

And a new panel has been named to investigate the actions of Denness, who caused controversy last year by punishing six Indian players, after India objected to the original group.

But the International Cricket Council (ICC) has stopped short of restoring Test status to the match held between South Africa and India in November.

A solution has been reached by all directors that is both businesslike and practical
ICC president
Malcolm Gray
The scheduled third Test was stripped of its status after Denness was replaced, against ICC rules, when India threatened to pull out of the tour.

But an ICC statement said that issue was not disputed by any member of its Executive Board - made up of the 10 Test-playing nations - despite predictions that India would object.

The Executive Board meeting in Cape Town accepted proposals from ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed to place the onus on Test umpires to lay disciplinary charges.

The matter would then be referred to one of the new, full-time referees named two weeks ago to hold a hearing.

There will be a right of appeal against referees' decisions for more serious disciplinary offences, although limits will be introduced to prevent the system being used unfairly.

Referees have also now been given the authority to explain their decisions to the media, something they are not allowed to do under existing regulations.

The ICC will also institute a Disputes Resolution Committee to review the procedures followed by Denness during November's Port Elizabeth Test.

Mike Denness
Denness punished six Indian players in Port Elizabeth
A committee chaired by Michael Beloff, a leading English lawyer, and comprising Zimbabwe's Peter Chingoka, Bob Merriman of Australia and West Indies board president Wes Hall will meet in the near future.

India had mustered support to force the postponement of the first panel after objecting to South African judge Albie Sachs, ex-Pakistan skipper Majid Khan and former Australian opener Andrew Hilditch.

"This matter has been a major issue for the ICC and its members over the past five months," said ICC President Malcolm Gray.

"It is a significant achievement that a solution has been reached by all directors, that is both businesslike and practical."

New code

A new system of Code of Conduct disciplinary penalties was also agreed at the meeting, with the aim of achieving greater consistency in disciplinary matters.

There will now be four levels of Code breaches, with recommended minimum and maximum penalties.

A first time Level 1 breach for dissent could be penalised by a minimum of a reprimand, with a maximum of a 50% match fee fine.

At the other end of the disciplinary scale, Level 4 Code breaches, which would include threats and violence, would incur a minimum ban for five Tests or 10 one-day internationals.

Michael Beloff QC is to succeed Lord Hugh Griffiths as Chairman of its Code of Conduct Commission.

The Queen's Council is a member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport; a post that has seen him involved with arbitration panels for the last two Olympic Games.

ICC president Malcolm Grey
"The game has to change"
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