ECB elections January 18, 2009

Clarke faces challengers for chairman's post

Cricinfo staff

Giles Clarke: facing challenges © Getty Images

Giles Clarke faces a serious challenge when he seeks re-election as chairman of the ECB, according to a report in the Sunday Times, which claims that as many as three candidates are set to take him on. Of the trio, Lord Marland, a former treasurer of the Conservative party, has emerged as the likely challenger at this week's election.

Ken Clarke, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Chris Gent, a former chief executive of Vodafone, are also considering throwing their hats into the ring, reported the Sunday Telegraph.

Marland said he would stand because he had become frustrated at Clarke's governance, and cited the Stanford Series as evidence that the ECB had lost its way. He also said Clarke had not defended English interests internationally, notably the up and down relations with India, and that he would raise the issue of terrestrial television coverage of Test matches as well. The Moores-Pietersen crisis, plans regarding a franchise-based EPL, and questions over the financial future of the ECB, are also key issues that Marland would look to corner Clarke with.

It had been expected that Clarke would not face any serious opposition despite some serious discontent at his handling of a number of issues, not least the controversial deal with Allen Stanford.

"Everything is in place for a challenge to Clarke. He might have thought he would be unopposed but we are delighted an impressive candidate has come forward to offer a credible alternative," an unnamed source told the Mail on Sunday.

Clarke remains the favourite, but that there is support for those willing to oppose him may mean that even if he wins, he has to adopt a more conciliatory approach than in his first term.

Marland, who was a key figure in the successful candidature of Boris Johnson in last year's London mayoral elections, is reported to have secured the support of as many as seven counties. If so, that would leave him needing to persuade three more to join his camp to win.

He agreed to contest the election after conversations with counties led by Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove, an implacable opponent of Clarke's, and his nomination is understood to have been seconded by Surrey and Lancashire as well.

Clarke will point to the lucrative renegotiation of the ECB's television deal as the crown jewel of his first term, but Stanford, the shambles of the coach-captain mess and the uncertainty surrounding the EPL may count against him.

To win the chairmanship a candidate needs a clear majority of the 18 counties and the MCC, of which Marland is also a member.