International Cricket Council April 25, 2008

ICC in turmoil as Speed ousted

Cricinfo staff

Ray Mali and Malcolm Speed preside over the fateful ICC meeting in Dubai in March © International Cricket Council

Malcolm Speed, the ICC chief executive, has been put on paid leave until his contract runs out on July 4.

In a brief statement, David Morgan, the ICC's president-elect, said: "This ... is the result of a fundamental breakdown in the relationship between the CEO and a number of board members, including the president, over a variety of issues that include Zimbabwe.

"David Richardson, the ICC general manager - cricket, will serve as interim CEO until Speed's replacement, Haroon Lorgat, assumes the role at the ICC's annual conference at the beginning of July."

Cricinfo has learnt that though Speed's ouster was largely due to serious differences he had with Ray Mali, the ICC president, and Norman Arendse, the president of Cricket South Africa, over the Zimbabwe crisis, the chief executive's recent comments on the unauthorized Indian Cricket League (ICL) had senior BCCI officials demanding that he leave the post.

BCCI started pushing for Speed's removal after he told reporters in Mumbai that the Indian board was yet to officially request ICC to ban the one-year-old ICL. Indian officials later claimed that the issue had been raised at various ICC meetings.

Apparently, the decision to remove Speed was finalized informally during a meeting of some senior ICC board members, including a senior Indian official, on the eve of the Indian Premier League (IPL) launch in Bangalore on April 18.

"There were many who were not happy with Malcolm's confrontational style of functioning," a BCCI official, who did not wish to be named, told Cricinfo.

"We have removed him so what is left to say now," said a senior official from the anti-Speed camp, who did not wish to be identified. "We were not happy with the way he handled the Zimbabwe situation, and his recent statements which implied that the ICL issue had not been raised officially within ICC."

Rumours had also been circulating for the last month that Speed had had a serious falling-out with Mali, following the ICC executive's decision not to take any major action against Zimbabwe following an independent forensic audit carried out by KPMG, which the ICC has since refused to make available.

Following the ICC's meeting in Dubai in March, at which the decision to overlook the audit was taken, Speed refused to attend the traditional post-meeting media conference, explaining privately to the executive that he was not prepared to defend in public a decision with which he fundamentally disagreed. It had been the recommendation of the audit committee that senior ZC officials should have been referred to the ethics committee.

In July last year, a confidential report by Speed and Faisal Hasnain, the ICC's chief financial officer, was leaked, much to the ICC's embarrassment and anger, in which Speed made a series of stinging attacks on Zimbabwe Cricket's finances, concluding: "It is clear that the accounts of ZC have been deliberately falsified to mask various illegal transactions from the auditors and the government of Zimbabwe. The accounts were incorrect and at no stage did ZC draw the attention of the users of these accounts to the unusual transactions. It may not be possible to rely on the authenticity of its balance sheet."

Mali, who is a staunch supporter of Zimbabwe and of its officials, has not yet commented publicly on the situation it will be Morgan who fronts up at the press conference at Lord's tomorrow.

Mali is understood to have been incensed by Speed's conduct and gained support from a number of board members as he successfully moved to have Speed sidelined for the remainder of his tenure. Although Zimbabwe has emerged as the key reason for the falling-out, it is understood that Speed's recent statement that the rebel Indian Cricket League had approached the ICC seeking official recognition had also been used as an excuse to get rid of him.

"At this point I am not in a position to respond to your question," Mali told the Age when asked for the reasons the action against Speed had been taken . "But I will definitely do so in the near future."

Haroon Lorgat, South Africa's former convenor of selectors, is lined up to succeed Speed as CEO, but said that it would not be appropriate for him to comment on the development as he is not involved with the ICC yet. "This is something I don't want to get into right now," Lorgat told Cricinfo.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Vatsal on April 27, 2008, 14:50 GMT

    I cant see why people are so much concerned with Indian offcials dictating the game. All the other international teams have to stop playing cricket with India for sometime. Cricket in India is popular only on international level, very much evident from the local games and tournaments. Yes, I do agree that players should make money from the game but it should not control the game at all.

  • Mohammad on April 27, 2008, 11:17 GMT

    Anyone on the top of ICC behaving that way where one could smell some anti sort of feelings is not the person to be there. Its not going to bring any good reputation for the game of Cricket. Removal of M. Speed is just within the jurisdiction of the ICC and if they think its right and their decision is going to promote cordial relations within the countries and teams of the world why not take a rigid step as taken now. No point in letting it go too far. Its the right time.

  • dannie on April 27, 2008, 2:35 GMT

    Cricket should be a game faultless but it seems that it is not that faultless. If there is a problem internally then difinitly there will be a problem externally so its a good move more to get rid of all the persons who try to use the game for their own financial gain and give positions to people who think in the best intrest of the game.

  • Ian on April 26, 2008, 15:29 GMT

    Hosp, I think you're forgetting several things in your post

    1. ECB never prevented Zimbabwe touring UK, that is and always has been at the discretion of politicians (you can't take politics out of it, period)

    2. Unlike most if not all other member countries, the board was never 'elected' in a manner consistent with its constitution, they are in effect political appointees.

    Seems to me there's more politics than sports in this argument than you would like to face up to.

    If some cricketing nations are prepared to support the non-constitutionally elected board of Zimbabwe overtly or otherwise for the benefit of votes from Chingoka et al, then I say good riddance to those who themselves put politics before sport.

    Care to think where the US$10m that no one can find, for which no one is responsible and leave it to those who 'lost it', but will probably get another freebie, for which the game in Zim will actually see nothing, has actually gone?

  • Alexander on April 26, 2008, 11:37 GMT

    To those objecting that Australia and England used to run the ICC as their personal fiefdom as the BCCI does now: this is true, and it was unacceptable and unfair, but two wrongs don't make a right. I would like to remind them also that even when the 'whites' (and somehow the West Indies always get included in this) dominated the ICC, they still introduced a sporting ban on South Africa, albeit belatedly.

    To those objecting that sport and politics shouldn't mix: wake up and smell the coffee. In Zimbabwe the two are indistinguishable because the Zimbabwe Cricket Board and its chief executive are just tools of the ruling party, and there is a real possibility that ICC money has been funnelled via the ZCB to Mugabe's corrupt and tyrannical regime: this is what may be behind the financial irregularities Speed objected to. The politicisation of Zimbabwe cricket is an established fact: why else do you think all their most talented players (blacks as well as whites) have left the country?

  • Mark on April 26, 2008, 11:21 GMT

    Cricket like any entertainment commodity makes money. What the BCCI fail to understand is that without Australia and England on their side they will fail to make money out of the international game. This means that the IPL will be thier only source of income and lets be honest 20/20 is a novelty at the moment. If 20/20 takes off then the BCCI will be in a very powerfull position, however should it start getting tired and old the shift in power will be to the English and Australian cricket boards. As a New Zealander I sincerely hope that the BCCI fail in their attempt to control the game and that Shane Bond and the rest of the alienated Kiwis find their way back into the national side. For once in my life I am completely behind England, Australia and Malcolm Speed.

  • Sajin on April 26, 2008, 11:13 GMT

    The rift between two factions has been come out by this issue, a group dominated by Asian & African countries, Caribbean islands and interestingly part of Australasia subcontinent powerfully controlled by world's most powerful cricket nation against a minority consisting genetic father of cricket and his allied & adopted son, arguably world champion of cricket. Malcolm Speed, who renowned for his professional approach instead of diplomatic approach has always been an eyesore of the former group, and himself, dived into troubles by commenting about ICL in a supportive way. The financial malpractices occurred in Zimbabwe cricket has divided the world cricket in two groups during last all ICC meetings which jumped out of ICC office into public eye by this decision of ousting CEO. Being the staunch supporter of the former group, I always welcome this decision, however, as a true and well-wisher of cricket, this decision is objurgating.

  • Atul on April 26, 2008, 10:14 GMT

    It seems like yet again the ICC are not making any just moves in condemning the man standing up for what most see as the right thing. Instead they are pandering to the real force in the game, money, and by not taking any action or notice of the ZC situation they can appease its more dominant ally, the SA Cricket board.

    I do agree about the ICL issue though. The BCCI have made it apparent they are not backing this "rebel" league and are in their right to do so. Of course, I don't agree with their pseudo-monopolistic control of the modern game, but that's another issue. Some credit should go to Speed for standing up for he believes at least.

  • bruce on April 26, 2008, 8:27 GMT

    Right - I reckon that means Shane Bond (and any others that want to) can come back and play for NZ now! The ICC is completely irrelevant, you might as well call it the BCCI for all the power in the international game it has.

    It's about time cricket regained it's mana and respectability. Lord knows us suffering fans have had enough!

  • rohan on April 26, 2008, 8:22 GMT

    This is another horror created by bcci officials to take revenge what they done for harbajan sing during the australian tour this near future the icc will divide into two groups with zealend,england,west indies,south africa one side and india,pakistan,sri lanka,bangladesh as other side and this will be a dissastour for future cricket.india will try to earn money from cricket rather than keep them as a prestigious iniversal game.i am giving a warniong to icc executives that be carefull about indian officials because one day they will distroy icc and make theirselves as cricket contolres in the world as we can see the parade has started from ipl and icl tournements and they will distate icc in comming future to happen the things what they need and they dont cocern about other member ideas or objections.icc has to be more vigilent about indian officials actions and comments before finalizing some thing.think about better future rather than going for money from cricke

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