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Bank of England governor bans cricket

David Hopps

July 4, 2014

Comments: 11 | Text size: A | A

Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, looks on, England v India, 1st Test, Lord's, 1st day, July 25, 2011
Mervyn King, centre, looks on during the 2011 Lord's Test against India © PA Photos

The Bank of England's annual game of cricket has been abolished under the watch of the Bank of England's new governor Mark Carney in a decision that will leave his predecessor Mervyn King aghast.

King was an avowed cricket tragic, a regular mover in high circles at Lord's, and took great delight in being made president of the cricket chairity Chance to Shine.

Carney is a Canadian - with, it appears, traditional Canadian tastes.

This Sunday, the Bank of England's annual sports day in Roehampton, in the south west of London, will offer a game of football (perhaps better known to Carney as soccer), plus other lesser-known pursuits demanding rather less complexity than cricket.

The decision puts clear blue water between Carney and King in a way that his views on house prices or the Bank of England interest rate never quite will.

Carney, who took charge of the Bank last July, asked his 3,500 staff what they wanted to play this year, daring to question the sport that King believed has built England. Rounders, tug o' war and a three-legged race topped the poll. Cricket apparently was seen as too exclusive and technical by non-sporting types. Twas ever thus.

Aware of the effect that key economic decisions can have on the exchange rate, the Bank even took steps to clarify the decision. They exonerated Carney and blamed the staff. Sterling, at a four-year-high against the dollar, recovered after losing nearly half a cent earlier in the day.

"The arrangements for the day were left in the hands of staff," said a bank spokesman. "They chose a number of other sports to play such as rounders and a tug-of-war."

Several governors have been well-known cricket enthusiasts, none more than King, who left The Oval somewhat reluctantly when news of the global financial crisis in 2007-8 began to break. He fielded teams including former professionals such as ex-England batsman Graeme Hick for the sports day. Those who have sat next to him at cricket dinners have discovered an unquenchable interest in the sport.

King is quoted on the Chance to Shine website thus: "Playing cricket at school taught me the importance of practice and teamwork. Captaining a side on the field helped me significantly in my career in later years."

He described cricket, in a way that resonates with ESPNcricinfo, as "the ultimate team game that reaches across boundaries of gender, race and class, offering opportunity to all".

Carney does not seem to see it that way.

George Osborne, the chancellor, has yet to pass comment.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by YorkshirePudding on (July 5, 2014, 6:03 GMT)

Honestly its a standard thing within the city. Most of the Financial institutions play games between either themselves or the management/partners and staff.

I'm sure that those in the BoE that played will still played they will just organise the games through other contacts.

Posted by   on (July 4, 2014, 22:06 GMT)

Carney hates cricket, and he's an Everton supporter ... oh, dear!

Posted by Starvybz on (July 4, 2014, 21:48 GMT)

no matter how many times i read about this story it always comes out the same way this guy doesn't like cricket

Posted by Derek_Haines on (July 4, 2014, 21:00 GMT)

So it's the Bank of Anywhere now then? Stuff everything in England, except filthy money. Who needs cricket, tradition and culture anyway, when there is... Maple Syrup?

Posted by rizwan1981 on (July 4, 2014, 18:04 GMT)

Why was Canadian Carney appointed ? Why could not the Chancellor find a British economist as the Governor of BOE

Posted by   on (July 4, 2014, 17:01 GMT)

he isn't the Chancellor, he is the governor of the Bank of England.

Posted by   on (July 4, 2014, 16:58 GMT)

I agree with Namagiri about the benefits of cricket. These are lessons that could profitably learned by the head of cricket in England ( together with his mates heading up Indian and Australian cricket).

Posted by android_user on (July 4, 2014, 16:53 GMT)

"I don't understand/not good at it so it's banned"

Posted by Paul_Somerset on (July 4, 2014, 16:44 GMT)

Would still do a better job than Paul Downton.

Posted by   on (July 4, 2014, 16:25 GMT)

For a while, I thought it was a prerequisite that in order to be appointed as Governor of the Bank of England it was necessary to be a devotee of our national summer game - Mervyn King, Robin Leigh Pemberton etc. Martha Carney is the first foreigner to hold the position in the life of the Old Lady. Clearly a mistake - Black Friday.

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David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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