Patterson report suggests setting up of West Indies Cricket Commission July 17, 2007

Committee recommends doing away with the WICB

Garth Wattley

More headaches for the West Indies Cricket Board as a committee set up by them has suggested that the board be replaced by a West Indies Cricket Commission, body that will include all major interest groups of the region © T&T Express

More bad news comes the way of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) as an interim report by a governance committee, appointed by the WICB to examine the structures of cricket in the region, has recommended doing away with the board as it is currently constituted.

In a wide-ranging report, the Patterson Committee, headed by PJ Patterson, the former Jamaican prime minister, and inclusive of noted Caribbean figures, Sir Alister McIntyre and Ian McDonald, observed that there were a number of negative perceptions about West Indies cricket, "which, whatever their validity, we consider it necessary to address".

The committee identified some of those perceptions as being that the WICB is administered inefficiently; sponsorship deals are perceived as flawed; finances are in shambles; and funding does not reach territorial boards.

As a result, the committee said: "The West Indies Cricket Board should give way to a more representative body."

The report, the final version of which is due next month, proposed that such a restructuring could occur in one of two ways. The first was the replacement of the WICB with a West Indies Cricket Commission.

This Cricket Commission, it was proposed, would include all the major interest groups - the territorial boards, players and officials, women, the Caribbean Community, the private sector and civil society and would have a chairman, selected after the Commission had been set up. It also recommended that there be a body of nominees - from the cricket boards, the governments, the West Indies Players Association, past players, the regional private sector and the media - to "identify, interview and nominate directors" of the Commission.

It further suggested: "If final selection [of the directors] is to be dominated by the territorial boards, it should be limited to the list of names submitted by the nominating body."

The second proposal involved the WICB being run as a publicly-listed company on the regional stock exchanges, with directors accountable to shareholders, and with an annual general meeting. The committee noted this format would "help to raise much-needed capital and give the Caribbean public a sense of ownership".

However, the Patterson committee also warned that with such an entity, "there would need to be safeguards against appropriation of the board by special interests. Caps would have to be set, and the voting power so arranged as to avoid control ending up in the hands of a limited number of persons and corporations or result in a populist system which could stultify effective decision-making". But it urged a clear delineation between the role of the board as a policy-making and monitoring entity and that of the management staff as the executing arm, regardless of the format.

Additionally, the committee outlined ten steps it felt needed to be taken, "with immediate effect", to give new momentum to cricket reform and development in the region. The steps, the committee said, could be introduced by mid-2008.

Among the steps are the establishment of a cricket academy; the selection of a group of 15 players "for continuous retraining and development over the next 12 months"; and the drawing up of a business plan and budget for 2008-09.