Southern League set to clampÂ down on poorÂ discipline
Southern League players have been threatened with action if they fail to clean up their act.
In an unprecedented step, competition organisersÂ haveÂ taken steps to stamp out bad behaviour.
Southern League chairmanÂ Steve VearÂ has written to all the clubs warning them of changes being implemented for the second half of the season.
Officials areÂ concerned poor discipline '“Â both on and off the pitch '“Â is on the rise.
They want to stamp it out quickly and have introduced a number of measures designed to bring individuals and clubs into line.
In his letter, Vear explained the situation.
He said: '˜While on paper it would suggest the Southern League is enjoying an improved season with regard to disciplinary and behaviour issues, I am afraid that does not paint an accurate picture of the situation we find ourselves in.
'˜At the time of writing, five umpires have either resigned from the south coast panel or are currently considering their position.
'˜At the same timeÂ a number of players have also expressed feelings of frustration with regard to the behaviour of clubs both on and of the pitch.
'˜In recent weeks there have been a number of incidents involving spectators abusing umpires,Â which must stopÂ immediately '“Â with the expectation clubs are taking steps to ensure the safeguarding of players and officials alike.
'˜The management committee of the Southern League are in agreement something needs to be done urgently in order to address this trend and ensure all players and officials can be given the best chance to enjoy the cricket they play within our great league.'
As a result of their concerns, umpires have been instructed to fully apply Law 42 which deals with on-field behaviour.Â Under this system offences are graded from level one up to the most serious level four.
Umpires will have the power to award five penalty runs to the non-offending team and suspend players for periods of the game.
Another change sees the introduction of pre and post-match briefings betweenÂ umpires and captains.
Bans will also be doubled within the league's tariff.
For every suspension, the player'sÂ club will also be deducted five points.
'˜Action must be taken to protect the interests of all involved both now and in the future,' added Vear.