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Sunday, 24 March, 2002, 10:39 GMT
ICC meeting 'forges trust'
ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed is pleased with the meeting
ICC boss Malcolm Speed was pleased with the meeting
A four-day seminar has created a "better sense of trust" in the game, according to International Cricket Council chief executive Malcolm Speed.

Speed, speaking on the last day of the ICC's conference in Cape Town, added it was vital umpires and referees should act as major ambassadors for the game.

"This has been a very important initiative for the ICC, and for cricket generally, because the umpires in particular are our best ambassadors," said Speed.

"What we have here is a lot of people who've been doing these jobs part-time now coming in to do them full-time.

They've been very willing workers over quite an arduous programme that we've put together.

"I hope these guys go away from here with the sense that they are major ambassadors for the game. If we've achieved that, then it's been worthwhile."

Elite panel

The ICC appointed an elite panel of five international match referees and eight umpires during the seminar to stand as neutrals in all test matches.

The eight umpires on the panel later agreed to experiment with extended TV technology to aid umpiring decisions during this September's ICC Champions Trophy tournament in Sri Lanka.

"There's certainly a good sense of the group being a part of the ICC," Speed said.

"One of the umpires said to one of our staff that the best part about the seminar is that we're actually listening to what they say and we've made some changes on the basis of what the umpires and referees are saying.

I hope there's a better sense of trust
Malcolm Speed

"It's been a two-way exchange. We've asked for their views and they have frank opinions which we've taken on board.

"I hope there's a better sense of trust between these two groups and the ICC than there has been in the past."

Speed said similar seminars were likely to be an annual feature for members of the elite panel as the ICC strives for greater professionalism at all levels of the organisation.

"This is part of a new era. I've said in the past that the ICC needs to work hard so that it is recognised as a respected governing body for a major sport," he said.

"They (referees and umpires) are a major part of what we do and we have to get it right with them."

The ICC recommendation for the extended use of television technology will now go forward for final ratification by the ICC's executive board, which will meet in England this June.

The ICC's umpires panel comprises: Steve Bucknor (West Indies), Asoka De Silva (Sri Lanka), Daryl Harper (Australia), Rudi Koertzen (South Africa), Dave Orchard (South Africa), David Shepherd (England), Russell Tiffin (Zimbabwe) and Srinivas Venkataraghavan (India).

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