Cricket umpires call for mediator to help settle dispute

THE Warrnambool Cricket Umpires’ Association (WCUA) wants an independent mediator to settle a dispute which threatens to undermine its future.

WCUA secretary Sean Cole has called for the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) to discuss the future of umpiring in the region.

The two organisations have been at loggerheads since the WDCA last month announced it would take over the management and training of umpires.

The decision would strip the WCUA, an organisation which has existed since 1945, of its decision-making power, leaving it to operate as a solely social entity.

Cole said he wanted the organisations to meet in the presence of a Western Waves representative, as stipulated in their memorandum of understanding (MoU).

He said he made the request in an email to WDCA chairman Nick Frampton last Thursday, but was yet to receive a response.

“We’ve told them we want a mediator. I’ve given them three pages of why I think they were wrong and basically I haven’t had a reply,” he said.

“I haven’t had a call from Frampton. The emails (from him) have been ‘I don’t agree with that’. They’ve made no attempt to contact us.”

Cole said indications were at least 12 WCUA members would not umpire cricket if the WDCA did not abandon its proposed new structure.

“At the meeting we held where they voted to terminate Frampton’s membership of the umpires’ association, there were 12 out of the 19 there,” he said.

“I would say they will not operate under his system. That’s 12 down for a start.”

Frampton yesterday confirmed he had received the email requesting mediation.

But he stood by the WDCA’s decision to seize control of umpiring. The MoU also allows such a move, subject to three months’ notice.

“There is the option for either party to withdraw with three months’ notice, which is the clause we exercised on April 10,” he said.

“The other option is there is a dispute clause, which allows both parties … to work through and resolve that. That is an option available.”

Frampton said he was confident there would not be a shortage of umpires next season.

He said the WDCA had already recruited five new umpires, to go with four board members who also officiated on weekends.

A further five were part of the 2013-14 umpires’ academy and were keen to stand in matches again.

Frampton was also confident existing WCUA members would commit to umpiring when the time came to make a decision.

“I think they’re trying to do the right thing by their body. They’re not wanting to show dissent,” he said.

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