Both Ben Stokes and Alex Hales will be allowed to continue their England careers without the immediate prospect of missing any more cricket, it was announced today.
The Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) Disciplinary Panel today announced that Ben Stokes and Alex Hales will receive no further suspensions for their involvement in a brawl outside a Bristol nightclub in September 2017, but both were handed considerable fines.
The Panel imposed both players with retrospective bans that have already been carried out by the players after they were made unavailable for selection in the immediate aftermath of the incident. Stokes has been fined £15,000 for his involvement, whilst Hales has been docked £7,500, although £4,500 of that sum is suspended for a 12 month period.
Interestingly, both players have also been handed additional bans (either backdated or suspended) in relation to inappropriate images and videos separately involving the pair, seemingly unrelated to the incident at Bristol.
Hales has been handed a suspended four match ban and an additional £10,000 fine (of which £5,500 is suspended) in relation to a second charge that involves “inappropriate images.”
— Alex Hales (@AlexHales1) December 7, 2018
Stokes meanwhile was given an additional two match match in relation to an “inappropriate video.” Like the ban given to him for his involvement in the Bristol incident, it is also backdated meaning that he will not be banned from any more cricket.
Tom Harrison, Chief Executive Officer of the ECB, commented on the result of the hearing, saying: “We accept the decisions made by the Cricket Discipline Commission and the sanctions they have given to Alex Hales and Ben Stokes.
“Each pleaded guilty, admitted their charges and has accepted their sanctions. They will now be available to play for England, with the same support as all of our players.
— Ben Stokes (@benstokes38) December 7, 2018
“Today is a very strong reminder of the values that sit at the heart of our game and the standards that should always be expected.”
Both players have released statements on the punishments handed to them.
Stokes said: “Everyone will now be aware that the CDC disciplinary proceedings have now concluded and I accept the decision of the Panel. I had entered guilty pleas to bringing the game into disrepute earlier in the process and I want to thank the panel for their time and consideration now that the hearing has ended.
“The criminal charges and, subsequently, the disciplinary charges have made it difficult to make public comments about the issues. I have already apologised to my teammates, coaches and support staff for the consequences of my actions in Bristol. I regret the incident ever happened and I apologise to England supporters and to the public for bringing the game into disrepute. I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout this process.
“Cricket and family are my life. This incident has been a huge burden for the last 15 months. I am relieved to get back to playing the game that I love without this hanging over me. Although the disciplinary process is now over, I have learned lessons that will stay with me for much longer.”
Hales issued a similar statement echoing similar sentiments which ended by stating how much he is looking forward to 2019, a hugely important year for English cricket. He said: “The next year is obviously an important one for England. I would love to be a part of a squad that wins the World Cup in front of our own fans and I will be doing everything in my power to make that dream come true.”