England news February 25, 2009

Unrepentant Clarke comes out fighting

Cricinfo staff

Giles Clarke remains bullish in spite of the criticism aimed at the board © Getty Images

Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman, has said he remains unrepentant in spite of the criticism aimed at the board, while revealing that he received over 9000 emails urging him not to resign.

Clarke was re-elected as chairman yesterday after Lord Marland of Odstock, his only potential challenger, withdrew from the race - just a week after Sir Allen Stanford, the Texan billionaire with whom the ECB had invested so much of England's future, was charged with fraud "of a shocking magnitude" by US authorities.

Neil Davidson, the Leicestershire chairman, was one who thought Clarke's position was untenable. However, when asked whether he ever considered handing in his notice, Clarke said: "I haven't and that's not because I'm bull-headed or ignorant about other people's opinions - I've had over 9,000 emails saying 'pay no attention'.

"I have to live with the consequences of the decisions our board takes and the criticisms that we receive," he told BBC Radio Five. "There has been some criticism which I think is constructive and sensible and we'll listen to. There has also been some singularly unpleasant stuff which I fail to see is going to encourage anybody to take on voluntary unpaid jobs.

"It's true that I have received a lot of criticism in the media, some of it hysterical and utterly irrational, some of it immensely rude. I discard those people."

I don't know what people would have said at the time had we not done the deal and had we not allowed our players the chance to play for US$20 million
In addition, Clarke defended the ECB's decision to strike such a huge financial deal with Stanford. "I don't know what people would have said at the time had we not done the deal and had we not allowed our players the chance to play for US$20 million. There has been a lot of sagacious hindsight. We entered into the agreement with Stanford in good faith and we believed we were helping West Indies, who were, after all, a contractual party to this."

The ECB severed all ties with Stanford last week, shredding the potentially lucrative deal which would have earned the board and its players millions of pounds.

In an interview in the Times Clarke also addressed the question of whether he thought he had done a good job. "But for the strong action taken at a very difficult ICC meeting, we would be welcoming Zimbabwe in April … that's a huge achievement. We have a lot more people playing the game and a lot more clubs with decent facilities. When I came in, we didn't have any financial reserves at all, but now we are in good financial health, which allows us to spend 21%of our income on grassroots cricket."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Douglas on February 25, 2009, 14:21 GMT

    It is all well and good for Mr Clarke to say "I discard these people" to those who have made what he considers rude comments. However, his and his Board's efforts at "due diligence" are pathetic to say the least. With his background in business one would have been excused for thinking that he would be aware of the "Know Your Client" doctrine. If he followed the same process in his business role God help his company and associates. The least amount of investigation by the ECB Board would have raised questions which should have alerted anyone with a modicum of commonsense and professional discretion. That investigation should have made them aware that he was not someone with whom one could do "good" business. At least not without risking one's reputation. Mr Clarke evidently has no regard for his or his Board's reputation.

  • Rajasundram on February 25, 2009, 13:11 GMT

    I guess it pays to have a thick skin, blind eyes compounded by deafness. Siva from Singapore

  • James on February 25, 2009, 10:31 GMT

    While the fictional money is around in large amounts it is important to have one's part in it. Why should ECB have done anything else? Then comes the shakeout. Anyone interested in economics would have known it was coming. Everyone was producing the same volume of goods and services as always, bar the usual (dubious) 'growth'. ECB only has to keep producing cricket, which is not huge amounts of money. We will find that cricket facilities and cricket quality did not increase exponentially, during the dream, the period of glister. Assets are 'real' and 'unreal'. Why the prejudice against the unreal and the tyros who were enthusiastic? What is wrong with money frenzy and unavoidable delusion? If anything, ECB needs to explain economics to its critics, not the other way round, and tell them to read more fiction. The mistake would be to throw real assets after fictional, perhaps out of guilt and lack of economic education.

  • Swami on February 25, 2009, 9:33 GMT

    Over 9000 emails ? From a few members of his family with their SEND buttons misfiring in their email software ?

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