Grading was introduced to enable umpires to know what level of cricket they are currently umpiring and, for those with ambitions to progress, to advise them what the next step up is on the progression pyramid.
It also gives appointers an indication of those who may be able to stand at a higher level, either because they are ready to progress or because they have umpired successfully at that level in the past and are still considered capable of doing so.
All grading is evidential based on where an umpire has officiated with successful outcomes in the previous season.
There are six grades from C1 to C6 and these are used as follows:
C1 – has been appointed to a minimum of six matches in ECB Premier Leagues; they should also have an educational qualification of, or be working towards, Level 2 or should hold its equivalent of GL5 or 4 under the previous regime.
C2 – has been appointed to a minimum of six matches in a league designated by the ACO as the second tier of cricket in the county.
C3 – has been appointed to a minimum of six matches in a league designated by the ACO as the third tier of cricket in the county.
C4 – has been appointed to a minimum of six matches in a league designated by the ACO as the fourth tier of cricket in the county.
C5 – has been appointed to a minimum of six matches that are in a league designated by the ACO as the fifth tier of cricket in the county or are deemed by the CPO to be of an equivalent standard.
C6 – No longer actively umpiring or because the County Performance Officer is unaware of the level of league in which the umpire is standing. If the latter is the case then the umpire should contact his/her County Performance Officer.
You can also append a * to the grade. This designates that the umpire is ready and willing to progress to the next level.
There are also some umpires who have umpired at a higher level but now, for whatever reason, choose to stand at a lower level. If these umpires are still considered capable of officiating at that higher level this should be made clear in the grading.
Thus an umpire standing in a C3 league but who has previously officiated at C1 level, and is still capable of doing so, would be graded C3+2.