Authorship of Umpire Decision Review System:
Sri Lankan claims recognition from ICC
Senaka Weeraratna is the innovator of
the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) and he has claimed recognition
from the International Cricket Council for the authorship of the UDRS.
Here are the copies of letters sent
to him by International Cricket Council’s Legal Head David Becker and
May 09, 2010
Thank you for your email of 5 May and the comprehensive bundle of
papers which you have provided in respect of your claims relating to the
Umpire Decision Review System.
I have had the opportunity to fully review this correspondence and
the bundle of papers.
Unfortunately I have no other choice but to respectfully reject the
assertions that ICC must recognize your ‘claims in law as the innovator
of the Umpire Referral Rule’.
Firstly, you do not specify anywhere in your correspondence the basis
of your claim in law. I am assuming that you are relying on some sort of
intellectual property right upon which to found your assertion. You do
not particularize exactly what that intellectual property right may be.
It is generally accepted in law that there is no protection of an
idea in law. That is the reason why people sign non-disclosure
agreements to protect ideas.
In this case, ICC did not sign any such agreement. Furthermore, you
chose to publish your idea all over the world in a variety of magazines
and newspapers, such that you would be taken to have waived your right
to confidentiality of the idea, even if such was protectable in law.
Secondly, even if you were to establish an intellectual property right
in the concept of a decision review system for umpires (which for the
avoidance of doubt is denied), you would need to show that ICC took your
idea without your consent and used it.
This, in turn, presupposes that the relevant ICC committee members
who came up with the idea were even aware of your idea and the details
thereof in the first place.
It was the ICC Cricket Committee who first developed the idea of the
review system for ICC, and I can assure you that the members thereof did
not at any time during their deliberations have any regard to
information which came from you.
With respect, they were not, and are not, even aware of who you are.
Finally, the idea of using a video referral system for decisions in
sport goes back well beyond 1997, as is evidenced from Simon Gardiner’s
article in Sport and the Law Journal “Video Adjudication in Sport”
 7(1) SATLJ 26.
With the development of more accurate technology over the years, it
is not difficult to see how it would be a natural development in the
thinking of the most respected minds within the game of cricket to
develop such an idea for umpiring decisions and progress it to the point
where it now stands.
We respectfully recognize that you are an avid fan of the game and
have taken much trouble to publish your ideas in various parts of the
world for the benefit of the game which you love.
You have also taken much trouble to collate the relevant bundle of
papers and take up the matter with Sri Lankan Cricket and the ICC.
This is acknowledged and appreciated. However, we cannot accept that
ICC ‘copied your innovation’ such that it owes you any credit for, or
association with, the Umpire Decision Review System.
Head of Legal
International Cricket Council
Emirates Road, Dubai Sports City, Street 69
PO Box 500070, Dubai, UAE
March 23, 2011
I refer to your email dated 09th May 2010 and regret the delay in
replying same caused due to having to obtain legal advice in relation
thereto. In view of the legal advice received by me in relation to my
rights concerning the Umpire Decision Review System as being currently
adopted and used by ICC, I am compelled to deny the contents of your
The idea that the decisions made by an on field umpire shall be
subjected to process of reviewing was conceived by me in or around 1997
and the said idea of mine found expression in the form that;
a. a dis-satisfied player shall have the opportunity to appeal
against a decision of an on field umpire;
b. such appeal shall be routed through the captain of the relevant
team (when the team is fielding) and through a batsman of the relevant
team who has been dismissed by an on-field umpire upholding an appeal by
the fielding side for his dismissal
c. such appeal shall be made to the third umpire; and
d. the number of appeals per inning against the decisions of an on
field umpire shall be restricted.
The said expression of my idea was contained in several articles
authored by me and published in several newspapers and periodicals
having a wide readership including:
• ‘Australian’ – March 25, 1997;
• ‘Times of London’ – May 02, 1997;
• ‘Sunday Age’ Melbourne – April 06, 1997;
• ‘Sunday Times’ (Sri Lanka) – April 06, 1997;
• ‘Dawn’ Pakistan – May 09, 1997;
• ‘The International Cricketer’ (United Kingdom) – May 1997;
• ‘Australian’ – February 20, 1999;
• ‘Northern Territory News’ (Darwin) – March 01, 1999;
• ‘Daily News’ (Sri Lanka) – March 02,1999;
• ‘Sunday Island’ (Sri Lanka) – March 14, 1999;
• ‘Time’ Magazine – June 07, 1999.
When regard is had to the Umpire Decision Review System as being
currently adopted and used by ICC, it is apparent that the same had been
developed by substantially taking from the aforesaid - my expression of
the idea that the decisions made by an on field umpire shall be
subjected to a process of reviewing upon a player referral.
Further, it would not be difficult for me to establish that the
members of the relevant ICC Committee who, according to your said email,
purportedly came up with the idea of the review system, had access to
the aforesaid expression of my idea due to the same having been widely
publicized much earlier in time as aforesaid.
In the aforesaid circumstances, the acts of the ICC constitute a
violation of my moral copyright by failing to attribute the authorshipof
the Umpire Decision Review System currently being adopted and used by
ICC to me and also my economic copyright by publicly adopting and using
the same without my license.
In the above premises, I trust that ICC, the controlling body of a
sport that has come to be referred to as the ‘Gentleman’s Game’, would
act in a manner that fits the reputation of the game which it
represents, towards my rights vis-à-vis the Umpire Decision Review
System as being currently adopted and used by it.