IN an article earlier this season I mentioned big law changes were on the way and a book containing the new laws dropped through Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) member’s letterboxes last week providing reading for all umpires and scorers.

There are 81 changes, some minor but others are very major.

Law 42 regarding players' conduct has been completely re-written as player behaviour has become a problem in many leagues.

This was mentioned by the current umpires in the England versus West Indies Test at Headingley when I was lucky enough to go to a question-and-answer session with the match umpires, third umpire and match referee.

They all have been surprised at attitudes when umpiring back at league level.

Under the new laws umpires now have four levels of offences to apply for unacceptable conduct. The following actions constitute a level-one offence.

• Wilfully mistreating any part of the ground, equipment or implements used

• Showing dissent at an umpire's decision by word or action

• Using language that is obscene, offensive or insulting

• Appealing excessively

• Advancing towards an umpire in an aggressive manner when appealing

• Making an obscene gesture

• Any other offence the umpires consider to be level one.

What is the umpire to do? They call dead ball if not already dead and then time.

The instruction is to then discuss with your colleague as to the level of offence and inform the captain.

If it is the batsman who is at fault then the batting captain is to be summoned on to the field.

The umpires will then issue a first and final warning to the offending player’s captain which applies to the whole team for the remainder of the innings.

Any further offence will result in five penalty runs to the opposing side.

A level-two offence is

• Showing serious dissent at an umpire's decision by word or action

• Making inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with another player

• Throwing the ball at a player, umpire or another person in a dangerous and inappropriate manner

• Using language or gestures to another player, umpire, team official or spectator that is obscene or insulting.

• Any other offence the umpire thinks is worthy of a level two.

If this occurs the umpires have the right to issue five penalty runs without any warning and continue to do so if any further offence occurs throughout the innings.

It is sad it has been felt the change to the law has been necessary and penalty runs issued but according to ECB surveys, player behaviour is turning people away from the game.

Is that a reason why leagues are struggling for umpires? Could be.

I will deal with level three and four offences next week.