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Last Updated: Friday, 27 May, 2005, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
Surrey count cost of ball inquiry
surrey

Surrey have been penalised eight Championship points after being found guilty of ball-tampering in a match against Notts earlier this month.

And a nine-point suspended penalty will also be imposed should they commit the same offence again before 31 May, 2006.

Surrey's internal investigation to find the culprit came to nothing.

Chief executive Paul Sheldon said: "The incident has been a big disappointment. We can now draw a clear line under the whole issue and put it behind us."

We wish to offer a full and final apology to everyone who has been affected
Surrey statement

At an England and Wales Cricket Board hearing on Friday, Gerard Elias QC considered the report from umpires at the game before handing Surrey their penalty.

"[The umpires] reported that, notwithstanding acceptance of the fact by the team's captain that it appeared the ball had been interfered with, further ball tampering subsequently occurred," Elias said in a statement.

Elias confirmed that Surrey had submitted to him a report on their failed inquiry to identify the guilty party.

"The report submitted to me indicated that despite their best efforts, no individual had accepted responsibility and they were unable to identify the culprit/s," he went on.

"The report indicated the club's intention to apply its own internal disciplinary procedure to reflect the serious view the club takes of such a blot on its reputation and that of cricket in general.

"The Surrey club apologised for the actions of the player or players concerned."

Surrey management were quick to act after the match at The Oval which Notts won by an innings.

And they reiterated their stance against cheating after failing to find the player, or players, invloved.

"We wish to offer a full and final apology to everyone who has been affected," Sheldon said in a statement.

"The firm and decisive action taken indicates how seriously the ECB and the club have treated the case.

"It clearly shows our determination to ensure that this cannot be tolerated in the game.

"Our stand-in captain Mark Ramprakash has handled a very difficult situation with characteristic professionalism."

Coach Steve Rixon was bullish, however, about Surrey's prospects of winning the Championship despite the points deduction.

"We discussed winning by more than eight points before the season, so let's hope it doesn't come into play," he told BBC London 94.9.

"We're playing good cricket at the moment ... if we keep our eyes on the ball we'll win this competition comfortably."

The ECB also revealed that a hearing will take place on 6 June into Glamorgan's allegation that Gloucestershire paceman Steve Kirby tampered with the ball in a Championship match this month.


WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Surrey chief executive Paul Sheldon



SEE ALSO
Surrey guilty of ball-tampering
07 May 05 |  Counties


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