England all-rounder Ben Stokes arrives for ECB disciplinary hearing as he waits to hear if he will be punished over brawl outside Bristol nightclub
- Ben Stokes cleared of affray at Bristol Crown Court earlier this year after a trial
- The ECB’s Cricket Discipline Commission could impose fines or suspensions
- Alex Hales was with Stokes at the time of incident, but faced no criminal charges
Ben Stokes arrived at an ECB disciplinary panel in central London on Friday.
The England all-rounder is awaiting punishment for his involvement in a brawl outside a nightclub in Bristol back in September 2017.
The cricket chiefs are deciding what sanctions, if any, to impose for bringing the game into disrepute.
Ben Stokes is awaiting the verdict from the ECB’s disciplinary panel for the brawl in 2017
The all-rounder arrived in the rain in central London to hear his fate on Friday
At Bristol Crown Court Stokes was cleared of affray, whilst Alex Hales who was not required to attend Friday’s hearing, was with Stokes at the time of the incident but did not face any criminal charges.
The Cricket Disciplinary Commission (CDC) have the power to fine or suspend Stokes and Hales.
Proceedings began on Wednesday and will be concluded on Friday after both men were charged with two counts of breaching ECB Directive 3.3, which states: ‘No participant may conduct themselves in a manner or do any act or omission at any time which may be prejudicial to the interests of cricket or which may bring the ECB, the game of cricket or any cricketer or group of cricketers into disrepute.’
Stokes was cleared by the courts of affray and missed the 2017 Ashes series in Australia
The panel is made up of former Derbyshire batsman now lawyer Tim O’Gorman, employment lawyer and former Gloucestershire seamer Mike Smith and judge Chris Tickle, who is a long-serving Warwickshire committee member.
The incident in question occurred when the friends went out, along with other team-mates, to celebrate victory in the third one-day international at Bristol in September 2017.
Stokes missed all of last year’s Ashes series which could add leniency to the verdict.
The all-rounder has never lost the support of team-mates and coaching staff, who apparently accept he was defending two gay men when he became embroiled in a punch-up with Ryan Hale and Ryan Ali.
Hales’ role will also come under scrutiny as the only price he has paid so far has been to miss the last two one-day internationals of that 2017 series and lose his 50-over place to Jason Roy as a consequence.
FIVE KEY QUESTIONS FOR THE PANEL TO CONSIDER
1 What was England’s Test vice-captain doing drinking at least 10 alcoholic drinks on a night out midway through a one-day international series? And how many drinks did Hales have?
2 Should they have still been out in Bristol city centre after 2am?
3 What impact did the CCTV video of Stokes and Hales (left) in a street brawl — and the subsequent criminal proceedings — have on the sport?
4 Did the criminal charges brought against Stokes — and the seven-day trial — bring the game into disrepute?
5 Was missing the Ashes series (in the case of Stokes) and two one-day internationals (Hales) sufficient punishment for the incident?
By Laura Lambert