ICC News June 30, 2010

Australia, New Zealand angered by Howard rejection


The Australian and New Zealand chairmen are united in their anger at not being given a reason for John Howard's scratching as ICC vice-president and embarrassed that such a decorated candidate has been refused. New Zealand Cricket's Alan Isaac and Cricket Australia's Jack Clarke were "gutted" after being asked by the board to nominate another option by August.

"It's incredibly disappointing that a man of John Howard's stature has been knocked off from this job," Clarke said from Singapore. "A person who has been such an eminent person and who has been through the most exhaustive process ever to get this job."

The opposition to Howard, who needed seven votes from the 10 major nations, began formally with a letter signed by six board members on Tuesday night. Resistance to the idea was so strong there was no point in having a ballot.

"There were no reasons given and that's part of the frustration Jack and I have in this whole process," Isaac said. "[There has been] lots of discussion but we're unable to ascertain a reason for the lack of support for our nomination. It's just not acceptable."

Howard, who was pursued by Cricket Australia to nominate for the position, was "extremely upset" when told of the veto. "When you put up someone through a process, someone as eminent as John, I don't think embarrassed is strong enough [to describe the way you feel]," Clarke said. "Just gutted that the ICC has ignored the chance."

A disappointed Howard admitted his political past could have been the problem. "Even in private discussions they are very reluctant to give a particular reason," Howard told Australia's Sky News. "It's a very unusual situation... I'm disappointed at the outcome. I wanted to do this job. I thought I could do it well and I would have devoted my full time to it."

Both Isaac and Clarke addressed the executive board during meetings over the past two days, with Clarke telling the members that Howard could not have been prime minister of Australia for 11 years without having ability. The pleas were ignored and the decision has exposed the reopening of a gulf between the Australia-New Zealand-England group and the Asia-Africa alliance.

Opposition to Howard's appointment began with his recommendation in March, with supporters of Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka early critics of the move before South Africa and India provided their influential support. Howard was a critic of Robert Mugabe's regime and refused to let Australia go there in 2007, while in 2004 he called Muttiah Muralitharan a chucker.

There was also a backlash in New Zealand after their candidate Sir John Anderson was overlooked for "a non-cricket person". An independent committee had been required to break the deadlock between Howard and Anderson, the two boards' preferred options.

Anderson has not been spoken to about replacing Howard and Isaac had no idea whether he would be interested. Despite the failure to advance Howard, Isaac remained comfortable with the selection.

"Both of the candidates were very able," Isaac said. "The recommendation for Howard was on his experience," he said. "John Howard also had the time [to do the job], which was one of the issues the nomination committee had with John Anderson."

Isaac and Clarke are adamant the appointment process, which is under its fourth design since 1992, followed the ICC constitution. A region-based, rotational method was introduced to avoid these types of issues.

"If you keep having processes that don't work or aren't allowed to work, I'm not sure how they go from there," Clarke said. "I'll have to go back to my board who will be pretty angry, very angry. Alan will need to go back to his board and then we'll need to get together and work out where we go from there."

There are no threats of boycotting meetings, holding grudges through Future Tour Programme planning or refusing to re-nominate a candidate. But when asked if anything had occurred at ICC board level that was more insulting to Australia and New Zealand, Clarke replied: "This has got to be in the grand final."

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Siraj on July 5, 2010, 5:13 GMT

    A decent country/candidate will respect the decision and move on. Australia likes flying low, we got a good example here.

  • Dummy4 on July 2, 2010, 4:43 GMT

    Posted by ZEUS00 on (June 30 2010, 13:43 PM GMT) Well, I'm Kiwi ... Bring in Richard Hadlee, a gentleman with experience, tact and popularity. No one from the subcontinent is likely to oppose his nomination either. RESPONSE: I totally agree with this comment and I am from India and hold Sir Hadlee in very high esteem. I want to highlight that this is not a result of hatred against any race or ethnicity, but a mandate against a personality called John Howard, who, having insulted Nelson Mandela and the blacks' rights to equal treatment under law in South Africa, expects dignified treatment. Nonetheless, there is one thing I do admire about John Howard, and it is his obdurate optimism.

  • Greg on July 2, 2010, 1:31 GMT

    I heard about this and heard about the disgusted Indian media saying that John Howard is a "racist" and so is Australians.

    I say this to the Indian media, that NOT ALL Australians are racist. I'm not !! >:(

    I thought the ICC stands for International Cricket Council, not "Indian" Cricket Council !!

  • jill on July 2, 2010, 1:21 GMT

    We like democracy. We don't like democracy if the vote is 3-7, or 2-1-7 against us. In that case we want the veto power.

  • Dummy4 on July 1, 2010, 11:05 GMT

    Time for Aus, NZ and Eng to split from the BCCI. Sorry, I mean ICC.

  • Dummy4 on July 1, 2010, 11:01 GMT

    I'm from NZ and Howard should NEVER have been the nomination. We bent over to please CA and even let them appoint an Aussie to settle the impasse between Howard and Anderson, no surprise, he picked the Aussie. Howard may be an experienced politician and cricket "tragic" but Anderson's business and Cricket CV puts him to shame. Like others, I'm pretty certain the NZ Board are having a quiet "I told you so" moment. Vote is really 8-2.

    BUT despite that, this process has never been about democracy. "Under the ICC's regulations, it was Australasia's TURN to CHOOSE the vice-president". Once again, the ICC has proved itself irrelevant.

    Perhaps it doesn't really matter who is the next ICC figurehead. He'll hold no real power anyway.

  • jeff on July 1, 2010, 10:56 GMT

    it doesnt matter that these other boards think he is unsuitable, the 2 that are charged with this responsibility deem him to be. the end. the reason it is done like it is is so all nations can 'have a turn' at being in charge. its not like he can make radical decisions by himself either, the president has to consult with people. this is going to make a mockery of the process as every nomination now can be opposed, until the powerhouse nations are happy. why not just let them ( asia and probably africa) pick and save the hassle? what a joke.

  • Viraj on July 1, 2010, 10:21 GMT

    Yibidi yibeda.. err.. Howard should just stop embarrassing Australia and just accept it and let them find someone else. And what is NZ doing? I thought they had a backbone when it comes to dealing with Australia. If there was any time to disagree with Australia, this is it.. Or maybe they r secretly wanting to embarrass Australia.

  • NoneOf on July 1, 2010, 4:53 GMT

    I am intrigued to understand why CA should project Mr.Howard so vehemently when you have stalwarts like the rugged Alan Border, the visionary Steven Waugh or for that matter any administrator in CA current or past. The answer would be that there is a political agenda already in place for Mr.Howard, and with Mr.Howards political prowess he will be able to put people in their places (if you know what I mean, read "The Asia Block") and get things back in order (read "back to the good ole days"). So the very idea of having Mr.Howard be pushed so hard is in itself a politically motivated idea, so why doesnt Mr.Speed or CA understand and accept that on the same lines that Mr.Howard was voted out was also political. If this hypothsis is false then CA would have already backed the post with another person which it did not do because it knows that there isnt anyone as good as Mr.Howard to do the job, neither it wants to hand over reins to Mr.Anderson in which case CA wouldnt have full control

  • jill on July 1, 2010, 4:44 GMT

    Perhaps the position should be shared between John Howard, Darryl Hair, and Sarah Palin

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