Allen Stanford fallout February 18, 2009

Defiant Clarke faces calls to resign

Cricinfo staff

Allen Stanford shares a joke with Giles Clarke last June © Getty Images
Giles Clarke has found himself at the receiving end of much criticism in the light of the news about Allen Stanford, raising questions about his current position as ECB chairman.

Although he was only last week re-elected unopposed for a second two-year term, his close relationship to Stanford has already caused a raft of negative media comment in the UK. And his critics in the cricket world have wasted no time in taking swipes at him.

"In any normal organisation the chairman's position would be untenable in these circumstances," Neil Davidson, chairman of Leicestershire and a vocal opponent of Clarke's during his recent re-election campaign, said. "Clarke is the architect of this deal, not David Collier [the ECB chief executive]. A lot of us felt it was an error of judgement to get involved with Stanford and while we can't prejudge what will happen, those views seem to have been vindicated."

"We need to understand who knew what and who did what and that's an internal matter which we need to get to the bottom of ... my understanding is that Giles was very much at the forefront of this deal."

Lord Marland, the former Conservative party treasurer who failed in his bid last week to usurp Clarke as ECB chairman, echoed Davidson's views. "The ECB has walked into the open arms of a man who has now been charged with fraud. What due diligence was carried out? The picture of Clarke, Collier and Stanford standing behind all those dollars will haunt English cricket for a long time. In any other organisation, heads would roll."

And Hampshire's Rod Bransgrove, a constant and vociferous critic, said that he "always thought the whole association would crumble as soon as the ECB chairman election was over and Clarke was reinstated".

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Baruch on February 20, 2009, 0:15 GMT

    Nice comment by timedout. Society's malaise starts with education. No longer do students study for the love of knowledge or passion for the the subject. It has to be about the grades one gets or we hear about getting fabulous offer of a job upon graduation. Eventually, that is the measure by which society judges you and that is the beginning of the decadence of young minds. The solution for the sacred and the pure is to take society's measures of success with a pinch of salt and to be driven in life by the passion for one's calling alone. One should listen to Howard Roark's defence in Fountainhead to get a feel of what I am talking about. Check it out on Youtube. One must remember that the journey of life is as important as its destination. I am sure it is that way with scores of unsung cricketers but it is the adminstators of the game who vitiate the atmosphere with their bean counting ways.

  • T on February 19, 2009, 10:12 GMT

    The whole Stanford situation emphasises how much we have forgotten what sport is for, and suggestions of downsizing the English first-class game play right into the lobby that believe it is all about winning, performance, money..... County cricket in its current format shold have a preservation order put on it to protect it from the Barbarians in their coloured clothing and their moneymen backers. Have you seen Slumdog Millionaire?

  • Paddy on February 19, 2009, 8:33 GMT

    The "temporary restraining order on charges of major fraud" in respect of Sir Allen Stanford shows beyond any reasonable doubt how ill-advised Giles Clarke and the rest of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) were to get themselves involved with this dubious individual. But whilst these revelations are perhaps the most damning to the prospects of Clarke remaining at the helm of English cricket they are just one in a long line of errors of judgment and taste that has seen the ECB descend into a fetid and morally indefensible pit.

    The failure to permit live International cricket on terrestrial TV, the squandering of the ECB's substantial income on an unsustainable and moribund county structure and the total inability of the ECB's management to apply firm and sensitive leadership over the England captaincy are by no means the only examples which along with the Stanford fiasco have dragged England cricket into the mire. Clarke must go.

  • ashok on February 18, 2009, 18:43 GMT

    Giles CLarke has made a mistake of collaborating with Stanford - which he accepted but what about otherside- what did he do to make county cricket more attractive / lucrative, what other oppurtunities he made available for the whole bunch of county cricketers who dont get chance to shine in England cricket team [ like mark Ramprakash etc]. Clarke has remained with only one motive of Stanford super series to make some money for ECB but lost the plot in making county cricket more attractive or breaking through by EPL. He should resign not based on this alone but a series of misfortunes he brought for English cricket. Loads of unanswered questions will arise if he serves for another 2 years. There should be an EPL atleast as an offshoot of IPL

  • David on February 18, 2009, 16:25 GMT

    Great post by OliverChettle.Hit the nail squarely on the head.Sooner the county game is confind to a few elite(ie good teams) the better.Players would have to fight for places and the competition between teams and players would be more intense.The step up to test cricket would then not be such a big one.After all what are we trying to achieve,a half decent national team or a mediocre entertainment experience.

  • Mark on February 18, 2009, 15:49 GMT

    Giles Clarke should resign, but I agree with the other commenters that this is unlikely. I also suspect that he will be difficult to dislodge, having just been re-elected. I find it incredible that a number of county executives declined to even meet with Lord Marland in the preamble to his leadership challenge. How can we be expected to show any faith with administrators who show such a thorough lack of professionalism? They are also culpable in this whole sorry mess - whilst the likes of Neil Davidson are to be applauded for their stance, cricket's structure in the UK has been shown time and again to be generally unfit for purpose.

  • Philip on February 18, 2009, 15:38 GMT

    The culpability of the county chairmen should not be overlooked. They had a chance to get rid of him only last week and they fluffed it. No doubt they thought he would deliver the amount of dosh they need to hundreds of administrators and mediocre players in work. The fundamental problem with English cricket is not a love of money - it's no better or worse than the low average of modern sporting bodies in that regard - but that the ultimate power is in the hands of people who are committed to protecting their own loss-making fiefdoms rather than promoting excellence. The sell-out to Sky is a consequence of the focus on maintaining the flow of funds to the counties. Let the counties stand on their own feet. Freed of the £30 million a year county millstone, the ECB could focus on supporting a smaller, hungrier pool of elite cricketers.

  • Daniel on February 18, 2009, 14:15 GMT

    This man, who has no background in cricket apart from the chairmanship of Somerset, has led England, and cricket as we know it, to the brink of destruction. He was willing to sacrifice the integrity of the sport by joining forces with a cricket-hating American to throw money at the players in a pathetic attempt to prevent them from falling into the hands of the IPL. The sooner this man sinks from trace the better, but as he appears too arrogant to resign, he must be forced out before it is too late.

  • David on February 18, 2009, 14:08 GMT

    Giles Clarke has a great deal in common with Crash Gordon Brown, never his fault. This sounds all too familar with what has gone on in the UK banking system where commonsense has taken a back seat in the dash for cash.And guess what Clarke was in a former life,thats right a banker.

  • Harvey on February 18, 2009, 14:04 GMT

    English Cricket has got off quite lightly from this. Imagine if this had happened two or three years down the line, by which time the ECB would have become completely dependent on Stanford money! Of course Clarke should resign. He should have resigned in the wake of the hostile reaction from cricket fans to the Twenty20 for 20 tournament he helped create. He should have resigned when his sell-out of exclusive rights to Sky TV resulted in no bid from terrestrial TV this time as many opponents of the deal had predicted would happen back in 2004. His involvement with the ECB has been a disaster, with English cricket now a laughing stock both on and off the pitch. It's time English cricket had someone in charge who cares first and foremost about cricket rather than the making of maximum short-term profits with no regard to the long-term consequences. We need someone who listens to cricket fans instead of dismissing us as "anoraks" as Clarke did in a recent Times interview.

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