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Football referee Steve Bennett joins Cricket Board

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The England and Wales Cricket Board Association of Cricket Officials (ECB ACO) announced on Friday that Steve Bennett, FA Premier League and former FIFA referee, has accepted the role as Independent Director and will sit on the new ACO Board.

Steve has been a Premier League referee since 1999. H e will help develop the role of cricket officials using his knowledge and experience gained in officiating top flight Premier League matches and in his role as a FIFA instructor.

Mike Gatting, ECB Managing Director of Cricket Partnerships, who also sits on the ACO Board, heralded the appointment, describing Steve Bennett as "an inspired choice - the right man to help take this new Association forward. His experience and knowledge will make a vital contribution."

In relation to the ECB's new officials recruitment campaign, entitled STAY IN THE GAME, aimed at encouraging retiring players to become officials, Mike added: "One of our biggest aims this summer is to secure the future of officiating, and to get and keep more people involved in cricket.

"STAY IN THE GAME will help the sustainability of officials in England and Wales. Officials are an integral part of cricket and essential to the survival to the game."

David Collier, ECB Chief Executive, said: "Steve's unique background will be invaluable in this role. Coinciding with the STAY IN THE GAME campaign this appointment demonstrates the importance that ECB places on our officials being at the heart of the game and will be another great step forward for the ACO."

Roger Knight, ACO Chairman and former MCC Secretary, said: "This is a very valuable appointment. We can utilize Steve's experience and learn how the FA recruited and retained its football officials and managed their education and training and use this knowledge for our benefit."

Steve Bennett said: "I am delighted to have been appointed Independent Director for the Association of Cricket Officials at such an exciting time in cricket. Officials are vital players in all sports. I understand the importance of their role and the satisfaction to be gained from officiating and being part of any match. I would like more people to get involved and experience those benefits. STAY IN THE GAME is an innovative campaign that will help encourage retiring players to use their skills and experience for the benefit of the future of cricket, enabling them to maintain their participation in the game."