October 1, 2009

Netherlands

Internal fighting holding back Netherlands

Martin Williamson

The ongoing failure of the Netherlands board (KNBC) to appoint a chief executive rumbles on, with the issue spilling over into the public domain following the decision not to offer the post to Jan Zwart who has been fulfilling the post on an interim basis.

Andre van Troost was appointed to the role in September last year but quit five months later. Zwart stepped in pending another permanent choice being made, but according to a report on Cricket Europe the whole affair has opened a rift inside the board.

The latest conflict stemmed from suggestions that a CEO would be brought in from abroad, possibly England, with Zwart implying that was as a result of pressure being put on the KNBC by the ICC.

Those suggestions brought an immediate denial from board chairman Marc Asselbergs. He insisted that the selection process had been fair, while pointing out that as the ICC provides about 80% of the KNBC’s income, it had a right to have its views taken seriously. There are existing ICC regulations on appointments which apply to all Associates.

But the KNBC has hardly helped its own cause in this whole affair, with few media releases and an advertisement in July which was so absurd it was forced to withdraw it. It opened with the line that it was “required by ICC regulations to advertise this position once again. Hence the following advertisement” and went downhill from there, but in case anyone was still interested, the description concluded: “Attention is drawn to the fact that there is already an established candidate.”

An appointment is expected within the next week, hence the decision not to extend Zwart’s tenure. Cricket Europe reported that Zwart had expected to be made permanent, hence his unfortunate remarks when he found out he was not.

What is needed now is for a strong and credible appointment to be made. Whoever it is needs to be able and willing to work outside the boundaries of the country. The higher profiles of Warren Deutrom (Ireland), Samir Inamdar (Kenya) and Roddy Smith (Scotland) have helped boost the profiles of their countries within the ICC and among the cricket world in general.

For too long the Netherlands have been an almost anonymous Associate as far as the rest of the world is concerned, surfacing for the occasional foray at global events. The new CEO needs to embrace the ICC and the media as much as he addresses the problems facing cricket in the country.

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Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Martin Williamson
Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.

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