Reports that the Stanford Legends group has been disbanded have been confirmed by a press release from the organisation, fuelling increasing concerns that Allen Stanford is poised to withdraw completely from his multi-million dollar investment in cricket.
On Wednesday morning rumours started circulating that Stanford had dismissed the dozen legends who had been on retainers to promote his brand. They were reportedly on as much as US$10,000 a month.
"The Stanford 20/20 Board was dissolved on Monday December 15th pending the review and Sir Allen Stanford personally thanked each of the legends of West Indies cricket for their involvement, guidance and counsel over the past three years," read a statement. "The Board has been integral to Stanford 20/20's commitment to the development of West Indies cricket and the board members continue to play an important role in the review process.
Stanford himself thanked the legends for their contribution. "Stanford 20/20 and the efforts of its board have reinvigorated widespread interest in the game throughout the Caribbean and have enhanced the image of West Indies cricket globally," he said. "The board has been instrumental in developing a whole new fan base in the region."
Asked if Stanford's decision had anything to do with the adverse publicity both he and his tournament attracted in the British media, Julie Hodge, a Stanford spokesman, said: "I don't think he was insulted, but it is disheartening, especially when you are putting so much money into the sport."
The legends were Sir Viv Richards, Sir Garry Sobers, Sir Everton Weekes, Curtly Ambrose, Joel Garner, Lance Gibbs, Gordon Greenidge, Wes Hall, Desmond Haynes, Richie Richardson, Andy Roberts and Courtney Walsh. Michael Holding was originally in the group but he quit after criticising the amount of money made available to grass-roots cricket in the Caribbean.