West Indies cricket February 9, 2006

West Indies board reveal remedial proposals

Mark Pouchet

Ken Gordon: 'The realities are that we need to raise money and decrease the deficit. And we had to find a way to get this done.' © Trinidad & Tobago Express

An estimated US$ 8 million Cricket Regional Development Plan and the addition of four new directors to the existing West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) were the new initiatives revealed by Ken Gordon, the WICB president.

Among the persons expected to be included among the directors are Clive Lloyd, the former captain, who failed in his bid to become the WICB vice-president last year, billionaire Allen Stanford, Dr Grenville Phillips and Sir Allister McIntyre, the former Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies.

According to Gordon, Lloyd has been approached to be the chairman of a "strong" Cricket Committee that will "become the principal advisor to the WICB on all cricketing matters". The terms of reference of that committee will be to keep all matters related to Caribbean and international cricket under ongoing review and to offer expert opinion for WICB decision-making; to be responsible for advising the WICB on the selection and conditions of employment of the coaching staff and to be the senior coach's principal point of contact with the board; and to keep the performance of the coaching staff under review and to guide the WICB accordingly. Gordon said Lloyd has indicated positive interest in assuming the chairmanship and is now seeking clearance from his employers in London to take up the job.

In addition, that committee is also charged with approving and monitoring the effective implementation of the WICB Development Programme and working closely with the WIN World Cup Committee, the territorial boards, Stanford's 20/20 initiative and "all other events which impact on West Indies cricket."

Phillips is the other specialist who will head a committee to address the restructuring and financial problems that include a US $20 million deficit and over-sized staff. This committee will be expected to guide the financial recovery and the restructuring of WICB's finances with particular reference to the outstanding deficit. The committee will also be asked to overlook the financial management and accounts of the WICB and to ensure that performance is in accordance with "the highest standards" and to work with all relevant parties to develop new revenue streams.

Stanford and McIntyre will be special advisors to the president. Gordon declared that the WICB had recognised the importance of "injecting additional representation on its board". "The territorial boards have given approval to proceed with amending the Memorandum and Articles of the WICB to accommodate up to four additional directors," Gordon said," That process will commence almost immediately."

Asked whether the expansion of the board of directors might lead to narrower partisan interests being pursued rather than the best interest of West Indies cricket, Gordon responded: "It is not the ideal formula but we have to realise what the realities are. And the realities are that we need to raise money and decrease the deficit. And we had to find a way to get this done and we believed that these people like Stanford and company have that capacity to address these problems."

Gordon added: "They have a proven track record and we have to use whatever expertise we have because if we wait on an ideal answer it may never come or it may come too late."

As for the Regional Cricket Development Plan devised by Bennett King, the West Indies coach, and Tony Howard, the manager, it is envisioned to include 96 players, eight coaches and eight trainers employed round the year and will cost US $8 million over four years.

The programme's aim will be to address the amateur approach to the game; prepare players who are capable of performing successfully at international level; to significantly improve the quality of regional cricket; to provide a meaningful avenue for cricketers to earn while learning; and to provide a group of trained coaches/trainers for the region. "Once we get this going forward together with the retainer contract programme for our first line international players, then we would have begun to seriously address present and future cricket development,"Gordon stated.

The plan will first be discussed with King and Howard when they return from the tour of New Zealand before major Caribbean cricket personalities are invited to participate and critique the document. "The objective would be to come up with a document in which there can be a general "buy in" and for which there will be widespread acceptance," Gordon indicated.