Eng v Aus, 5th Investec Test August 20, 2015

Giles Clarke is target of The Oval silent protest


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Let's talk about: Are you worried about the future of cricket?

Giles Clarke could be called to appear before the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee if one conservative MP has his way.

Damian Collins, MP for Folkestone and Hythe, has applied to be chairman of the committee for Clarke to be invited to account for his actions as the ECB's representative at the ICC.

In particular, he wants him to explain the decision to distribute the finances of global tournaments to the advantage of India, England and Australia and the apparent disadvantage of the other 102 member nations - be they full, associate or affiliate - of the ICC.

Clarke, the former chairman and current president of the ECB, has become the focal point for anger after his less than flattering portrayal in the documentary Death of a Gentleman, which alleges that poor governance of the game at a global level has endangered the future of the sport.

The film is also critical of the decision to cut the World Cup to a 10-team tournament and draws attention to the ICC's decision to disregard an independent report in 2012 from Lord Woolf and the financial services company, PricewaterhouseCoopers which referred to the conflict of interest implicit in the composition and membership of the ICC, chaired by N Srinivasan of India.

"Cricket has been taken over by England, Australia and India at the expense of the other 102 countries that play the game," said Collins, who has previously been highly critical of the poor governance standards and corruption in FIFA.

"These three titans of the game have engineered a backroom power grab where cricket is the loser and England, Australia and India are the perennial winners. Not only are they doing the wrong thing by their sport, but it is a conflict of interest. It is clear they do not have an interest in developing and growing the game globally, but only in their own backyards."

Collins was among the demonstrators at a protest outside the Hobbs Gates at the Kia Oval ahead of play in the fifth Investec Test. The protest, organised by the film makers, was designed to draw attention to the campaign Change Cricket, calling for more transparency and fairness in the global governance of the sport.

The protest, while only attended by a few dozen campaigners, gathered a large amount of media attention while those present included Paul Burnham, the founder of the Barmy Army, noted cricket historian Gideon Haigh, Wisden editor Lawrence Booth and Jamie Fuller, chairman of SKINS, an Australian sportswear company and a sports ethics campaigner.

Death of a Gentleman film makers Sam Collins and Jarrod Kimber protest outside The Oval © Getty Images

Billy Cooper, the Barmy Army trumpeter, played the Last Post to mark the silence.

"It is vital to have transparency in sporting organisations," Collins told ESPNcricinfo. "We saw with FIFA what can happen if that is not the case. While nobody is alleging that cricket is that bad, it is important we spell out the dangers now as we have seen before that consolidation of power can do. A small group can shift the balance of power to the detriment of people.

"I would like to see Giles Clarke respond to the challenges that have been made to him. What he has been party to has been bad for cricket and raises questions about his judgement.

"I will ask the sports select committee to summon Giles Clarke to explain his role. I will be asking the committee if they are interested in taking this further. They have a role to play in asking the questions people want to avoid answering."

Meanwhile, the North Somerset Times, the local paper of Clarke, printed a mock obituary to the death of cricket. The obituary, actually an advert paid for by SKINS, in the style of the original Ashes obituary, reiterated the criticism of Clarke and called on cricket lovers to join the Change Cricket campaign and sign the petition at: www.changecricket.com.

Sam Collins (no relation to Damian Collins), one of the documentary makers, told ESPNcricinfo: "We are calling for Giles Clarke to resign. As long as he is involved, it seems the game cannot go forward.

"On his watch, participation and viewership figures went down and he has stood in the way of global growth. It is time for him to go."

In a separate demonstration outside the ground, a protestor dressed in a reindeer costume was hoping to draw attention to England captain Alastair Cook's apparent fondness for hunting. Carrying a banner adorned with a picture of Cook posing with a recently-shot deer, the placard stated: "Shame on you Alastair Cook. Deer do not want to die."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • john on August 23, 2015, 1:16 GMT

    Looking forward to watching the doco. .glad someone is standing up and saying something about the murky world of the great game .. The game should be growing..

  • Dummy4 on August 22, 2015, 14:22 GMT

    What about South Africa they are number in the world test ratings after all

  • David on August 22, 2015, 7:09 GMT

    I have to admit that I have previously though Mr Kimber's work rather superficial, but it is clear that he cares deeply about our sport. Hat's off to you JK, for the stand you are taking on behalf of cricket. Let's hope this goes truly viral and you can get support around the globe.

  • mahesh on August 22, 2015, 3:13 GMT

    Cricket is a glolobal sport . I would like to see in future countries like ireland, afg and nepal become test playing nations, what icc has done to improve infrastructure in those countries. If these 3 countries playing each other all the time cricket will be boring.. From intnl cricket council it is again going back to imperial cricket council, as an indian fan I want bcci to promote test cricket more rather than concentrating on limited ovrs crkt.. #changecricket

  • Robert on August 21, 2015, 23:47 GMT

    E.C.B. and Cricket Ausralia's engagement with B.C.C.I. has been a craven cop-out. Indian cricket generates huge revenues - India is a big country and it is cricket-mad. Surely the international cricket community should be looking to spread some of those riches around in order to develop the game around the world. ECB and CA's decision to try to hang on to India's coat-tails in order to enrich themselves makes no sense. If cricket is to thrive it needs to be a competitive sport where those countries outwith the 'Big Three' can prosper. Otherwise we wind up just playing with ourselves - never a healthy option!!!

  • arpu on August 21, 2015, 12:24 GMT

    it is ridiculous to blame everything on BCCI. if BCCI alone were demanding large share then CA and ECB should have let them have it since they provide 80% revenue why did they increased their own share if they didnt want such a thing. The fact is that it was planned by all three boards of Big 3. why would BCCI leave ICC when they are so rich and powerful due to cricket. leaving ICC would mean no international cricket for India meaning no existence of BCCI. Infact ECB as everybody know is against development of cricket in other associate nations may be bcoz they are alwys on the receiving end of defeats by them. defeats in WCs against ireland, netherlands, bangladesh and many before them. ECB always want cricket to remain among very few countries only

  • u on August 21, 2015, 9:19 GMT

    If India wants to leave ICC let them go. We had enough of them.

  • u on August 21, 2015, 8:03 GMT

    The cricketing world have to work as one unit rather then Big 3. India in particular has been working on bullying basis. How they change the tour to South Africa to let Sachin play his 200 test at home. Then making things difficult for West Indies and demanding millions from them. Refusing to play Pakistan...they are due to play in Decmeber but already finding excuses not to play. Trying to hold every other major cricket event at home.

    In the past they have said they will leave ICC. If so please do as you have created more problems for the game then making it better.

  • Ian Jones on August 21, 2015, 7:00 GMT

    The English public will quickly get bored of only playing India and Australia in Test series. I also think cricket would be far stronger if India left.

  • Will on August 20, 2015, 22:03 GMT

    An absolute disgrace. I am waiting with bated breath #changecricket

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