London: Leicestershire have been deducted 16 points from their County Championship total for offences committed by their players over the last year, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced on Friday.
The struggling county, bottom of the English Second Division, pleaded guilty to a charge brought by the ECB that there had been five or more separate occasions when their players had shown dissent to umpires or members of opposing teams.
An ECB Cricket Disciplinary Commission hearing at Lord`s also gave Leicestershire a £5000 ($7800) fine which will be suspended for 12 months.
"The points deduction is immediate but the fine will be suspended for a period of 12 months and will be imposed if Leicestershire players commit a further two fixed penalty breaches within that period. In addition Leicestershire were ordered to pay £500 towards the cost of the hearing," a statement read.
"The Panel took into account the guilty plea and the changes that have taken place at the club within the past year as well as the club`s stated intention to improve their disciplinary situation.
"However they noted the overall seriousness of the five offences and felt that more substantial action should have been taken to address these issues at an earlier stage."
Leicestershire, who won their first home match since 2012 earlier this week, had previously endured a 37-game winless run in first-class cricket before beating Essex in June.
Leicestershire chief executive Wasim Khan was frustrated with the sanctions and issued a statement which read: "It is with huge disappointment that the ECB Disciplinary Panel Committee has today decided to dock Leicestershire CCC 16 Championship points this season. We believe that the sanction imposed is severe.
"It is unfortunate that two of the highest level indiscretions happened last year that we had no control over and we believe that the latest low level incident reported was particularly harsh.
"Unfortunately there is no platform for us as a club to appeal any of the reported incidents. We have already put in place procedures relating to player education and will be talking to the Professional Cricketers Association as to what further programmes we can put into place."