The winter training period within ICC Europe and the officials' development programme has been hectic to say the least.
The Tutor Team is led by Graham Cooper (ICC Europe Umpire Consultant) and assisted by Ken Amos (Kent), Keith Healey (Staffs), Keith Smith (Ireland) and Ray Holyer (Hants). One of the prime aims of the ICC Europe Development Programme for officials is to ensure that member countries have their own tutors to run courses thereby reducing cost, ensuring more flexibility and to help overcome any language problems.
To ensure the prospective Tutor has training and guidance they attend ECBACO Tutor Training, where possible, and then are mentored by an ICC Europe Lead Tutor before running their own in-country courses. The programme has been very successful in that established Umpire Tutors are now available in Guernsey (John Mountford), Jersey (Doug Ferguson, John Edmonds), Scotland (Sandy Scotland, Bill McPate), Ireland (Keith Smith, Ingeborg Bevers, Alan Tuffery, David Caldwell, Alan Neill, Trevor Magee), Italy (Maurizio Monge), Isle of Man (David Kenworthy) and Israel (Sammy Bamnolker and Eli Jacob). Additionally established Scorer Tutors are available in Ireland (Siobhan McBennett), Guernsey (John Mountford), Jersey (Gina Kearns), Italy (Leonela di Giglio, Francesca Jayarajah ), Germany (Wraye Wenigmann), Norway (Saifar Bashir), Sammy and Eli (Israel) and The Netherlands (Rod Lyall).
In 2011-2012, a total of 21 ECBACO Level 1 Umpire Courses have been conducted in Norway, Switzerland, Scotland, Hellas, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Gibraltar, France, Italy and The Netherlands with an attendance of 248 personnel, many of whom were successful in the Examination. A further 4 ECBACO Level 1a Umpire Courses have been conducted in Ireland, Germany, The Netherlands and Jersey with over 30 attendees. Additionally 8 ECBACO Level 1 Scorer Courses have been run in Italy, Germany, Guernsey, Denmark, Cyprus, The Netherlands, Ireland and Jersey with 91 attendees again with most of them being successful in the Examination.
To see just how far training has come in Europe, the following figures may help to place the importance of training in our overall strategy:-
|Course type|| Number of Courses||Number of students|
|Introductory Umpire Courses - from 2009||9||165|
|Level 1 Umpire - from 2009||68||847|
|Level 1a Umpire - from 2009||12||123|
|Level 1 Scorer - from 2009||30||403|
In compass with the ECBACO Scorer Initiative ICC Europe have processed 21 requests for Scorer Accreditation, and many will be assessed during the coming season.
The ICC Europe Officials Association (ICCEAO) has over 1240 members of which over 300 are currently members of ECBACO. These Umpires and Scorers are able to progress onto the ICC Europe Umpire and Scorer Panels for selection to officiate at ICC Europe Tournaments of which there are 6 due this year in Estonia, Ireland, Guernsey, Corfu, Spain and Denmark, plus there are also U19 and U17 Challenge series.
Further opportunities exist to progress onto the ICC Affiliate and Associate International Umpires List and ICC Europe has 4 on this list - Richard Smith (Ireland), Mark Hawthorne (Ireland), Ian Ramage (Scotland) and Neils Bagh (Denmark) and they have all been officiating at ICC Global Tournaments whilst we have endured the winter weather. We have recently been advised by ICC that Richard, Ian and Mark will be officiating in the ICC U19 World Cup which is to be held in Australia this coming August. Niels will be visiting England in June and will umpire some matches for the ECB.
We endeavour to assess all our Panel umpires who officiate at our Tournaments and last year we carried out 78 umpire assessments. In fact since 2001 we have carried out 403 such assessments for our umpires. This year we will assess our umpires again and we will also be including, for the first time, the assessment of our scorers.
All the above shows that Cricket is flourishing within Europe and that the Officials (both Umpires and Scorers) involved are playing a major, and important, role in ensuring that the cricket being played is within the Spirit of Cricket.