ICC news June 30, 2010

Speed slams 'political' boards over Howard

Cricinfo staff

Malcolm Speed, the former ICC chief executive, has slammed the boards that have blocked John Howard's nomination as the next ICC vice-president. During the ICC annual meeting in Singapore it was confirmed that Howard didn't have enough support, while Australia and New Zealand have been asked to nominate another candidate

Speed, who was CEO from 2001 until 2008, was scathing in his assessment of what had taken place to undermine Howard's nomination, which itself was the subject of a compromise between Australia and New Zealand. He said those who didn't want Howard in the role are politically motivated.

"Howard has been rejected because his appointment would provide ICC with strong leadership that would thwart the ambitions of several current administrators to downgrade and devalue the role of the ICC," Speed wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald.

"Howard would have stood in their path. The role requires strength of character - a leader, diplomat, statesman and politician. The ICC board is as political as any political party. The countries that voted him down want a compliant figurehead who will do their bidding."

Speed added that Australia and New Zealand have previously accepted nominations despite reservations. He said that they should decline to make another candidate available and instead pass the role onto Pakistan and Bangladesh, who are next in line on the rotation system, then refuse to vote themselves.

"In the meantime, they should be banging the table and making their displeasure widely known," wrote Speed.

Speed also questioned whether ICC president-elect Sharad Pawar would have time for cricket in the midst of his political career. "Sharad Pawar, is the Minister for Agriculture in the Indian government - a serious full-time job, feeding 1.2 billion people. He is a good and fair man but he will be working part-time as ICC president and, take it from me, he knows little about cricket administration.

"I was present at several ICC board meetings he attended. ICC meetings generally last two days. Pawar attended for one hour and was then replaced by one of the Board of Control for Cricket in India apparatchiks. They were concerned that he was too busy and would be too reasonable," wrote Speed.

Cricket Australia's chairman Jack Clarke and his New Zealand Cricket counterpart Alan Isaac said in a joint statement they were "deeply disappointed" after supplying "the best possible candidate". "We jointly nominated Mr Howard as he possesses significant leadership and administrative skills," they said. "We believe cricket needs to continue to seek excellence and dispassionate independence in the game's global governance.

"We were delighted that the most senior world figure ever considered for this role agreed to accept the nomination. We remain convinced it is reasonable for his nomination to be supported by the ICC executive board and we are deeply disappointed by the position taken."

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