THE International Cricket Council (ICC) accepted that the umpires and referees have been inconsistent in applying the new Code of Conduct for the players. This admission came in a report submitted by the ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed at the Annual General Meeting of the ICC.

In the report, Speed candidly admitted he has not been entirely happy with the implementation of the Code of Conduct by the umpires and referees and urged that it be made "clearer, toughter and fairer".

He is of the view that to make the implementation of the Code of Conduct successful it is important that it is explained in detail to the players, coaches and other officials. Speed said that is important that people interested in the game across the World be made aware of the fact that the "highest standards of player behaviour will be applied and that these will be enforced by umpires in the first instance and by the referees who will act as the adjudicators."

The ICC was also continuously working with its elite panel of umpires to improve the general standards of umpiring. "This is an area where we are continuing to work with them as a consistent approach is essential to earning respect for both the Code and the officials."

Speed made it clear that this was an area where there was no short-term solution. "It requires further work and refinement and new assessment and feedback processes will help identify areas for improvement."

Meanwhile, according to an ICC release, Speed also set up an Audit Committee, with Alan Gillett as Internal Auditor, to replace the previous Finance and Marketing Committee. "This is in accordance with the best practice in corporate governance and it is a very important committee for ICC." The functions previously performed by the Finance and Marketing Committee will now be performed by senior managers in the ICC team.

It was also announced that the ICC would try in the next one year, to become a unified organisation in charge of both men's and women's cricket. There has been a lot of discussion and meetings with the International Women's Cricket Council with a view to have a unified organisation for the game in the near future.