Veteran English umpire Michael Gough has been banned for six days following his voluntary breach of the strict officials’ bio-bubble in the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 being played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) currently. This is the first COVID bio-bubble breach of the tournament and sadly it was done by an official.
Michael Gough, who has played 67 FC matches and 49 List-A games for Yorkshire from 1998-2003, made his umpiring debut in 2013 in a T20I match between England and Australia at Chester-Le-Street. His ODI debut came in September same year between the same two sides in Birmingham and his Test debut came in 2016 in a match between Zimbabwe and New Zealand in Bulawayo.
The former Yorkshire batsman has emerged as one of the best umpires in the international game, but he’s been stood down for six days by the ICC Bio-Security Committee after breaking the bubble in the UAE.
Michael Gough To Isolate For Six Days Following Bio-Bubble Breach: ICC
The T20 World Cup 2021 began on September 18 with the qualifying round of matches which were played in UAE and Oman. The hosting rights are with BCCI as India was supposed to host the tournament but was forced to move it due to COVID complications in the country in June this year.
It has been reported by Mirror.co.uk, that the ICC officials are still investigating the full extent of his breach, but it has come to light that Michael Gough left his hotel without permission on Friday to meet with people outside of the officials’ bubble. The breach came to the ICC’s attention and the same protocols that are in place for players swung into action as Gough was placed in strict quarantine.
An ICC spokesperson said: “The Bio-Security Advisory Committee has instructed Umpire Michael Gough to isolate for six days due to a breach of the event bio-security protocols.”
Gough was due to preside on the field the game between India and New Zealand in Dubai on Sunday, but was replaced by Marais Erasmus and was instead confined to his room where he is being tested every other day.
Once he is free to return to the community, Gough will be able to resume his umpiring duties, but he may still face further sanction by the ICC. The officials are being treated the same way as the players when it comes to disciplinary matters and Gough could find himself relegated from an on-field role to TV and 4th umpire duties.
It is also possible that he could miss out on the opportunity of officiating in the plumb semi-final and final matches, despite being the best in the business due to his negligence.
This T20 World Cup is taking place 5 years after the last edition in 2016 and is the first major multi-team tournament to take place since the outburst of the pandemic, and competition organizers are making sure everything imaginable is being done to keep it safe.