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Collier defends ECB over Riverside farce

Chief executive David Collier insists the England and Wales Cricket Board could have done nothing more to prevent tonight's farcical postponement of the Twenty20 Cup match between Durham and Yorkshire.

With thousands of fans already in their seats at the Riverside in anticipation of this evening's quarter-final, it was announced by the ECB that Yorkshire were under investigation for fielding an ineligible player, Azeem Rafiq, in their decisive group match against Nottinghamshire.

As a result, the match was immediately postponed and the perplexed supporters left to make their way home.

Collier claimed the incident stemmed from Yorkshire's failure to register Rafiq as a first-class player while - despite the fact the 17-year-old has captained England Under-15s - there are question marks over his British nationality.

Yorkshire's director of professional cricket Martyn Moxon suggested the ECB had been informed of the mix up within days of the match against Notts, on June 27, which clinched their place in the last eight of the competition.

But Collier is adamant the matter only came to light when officials at the ECB spotted the error this morning.

"I don't think we could have done any more than what we've been doing today," he told Sky Sports 1.

"It has been a mad rush. The worst would have been to just ignore it and act as though nothing had happened and let the game go ahead with the knowledge that the game may well have to be replayed.

"We were aware of the situation this morning and immediately spoke to all the correct people.

"Clearly, it's not ideal when these sort of situations occur on the day of such a major match."

He added: "There was no registration of the player right from the outset - that was the key problem.

"The problem then was that the player is not qualified as an English cricketer, so if Yorkshire had applied for registration, they would have had to de-register (Pakistani all-rounder) Rana Naved to be able to play Azeem Rafiq in the game against Nottinghamshire.

"There were several severe complications in this case, but the bottom line is the player was not registered to play in first-class cricket."

Collier expects Yorkshire's fate to be decided by a panel of the Cricket Disciplinary Commission which is likely to convene on Thursday.

he continued: "Clearly there is a precedent from a Worcestershire-Gloucestershire game where a match was replayed, but the panel has wide-ranging powers and that can lead into all sorts of areas - whether that be fines, disqualification, replaying the match, it is up to the panel to determine."

source - sportinglife.com
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