West Indies cricket November 7, 2008

Hall 'astonished' by WICB criticism of his statement

Cricinfo staff

Wes Hall: "As I said at the press conference in Antigua, Sir Allen Stanford is very rich, but he's not a benevolent fund, and you have to obey the rules" © Cricinfo Ltd

Wes Hall, the former West Indies fast bowler, has said he is "astonished and saddened" at the board's remarks over a recent press conference he addressed. Hall denied saying that the Stanford 20/20 board, of which he is a member, "was frustrated over the use of Stanford funding by the WICB", a comment which was termed as "reckless, baseless and grossly inaccurate" by the WICB.

"In more than 50 years involved in West Indies cricket, I have never known the WICB deliver such a fierce tirade against anyone," Hall was quoted as saying in the Trinidad and Tobago Express. "West Indies cricket has been my life. To have such condemnation wrongly directed at me by the WICB is torrentially tasteless."

Hall said a tape recording of the conference confirmed he did not mention the WICB in his statement, made at a press conference last week. "Stanford gave money as part of its development plan directly to the 20 individual territorial boards that participated in the regional 20/20 tournament, some of which are not even members of the WICB, and not to the WICB," he said. Hall explained he was misquoted by a Jamaican daily, which said "the Stanford board was a bit frustrated because we give them (WICB) the money and they put it on fixed deposit and spent in on non-cricketing things".

"The 'them' was a reference to the relevant territorial boards, not to the WICB," he said. "The only money that the WICB has received from Stanford is US$2 million annual licence fee for sanctioning the regional Stanford 20/20. There is also the proposed US$3.5 million annually for the Stanford Super Series over the next three years."

In a statement, the WICB "regretted that its former chairman [Hall] was associated with such a gross misrepresentation of the facts which are that the Stanford Group has been woefully short on its promise to facilitate cricket development in the Caribbean".

"Everyone knows that one board initially put the Stanford money on a fixed deposit account and spent only $37 for a case of Gatorade and that another used it for purposes other than intended," Hall said. "If the WICB doesn't know that, it shows how out of touch it is.

"Because of a lack of accountability by some boards, representatives of all territorial boards were assembled in St Croix last March to review the status of their funding." Hall explained. He said each board participating in the Stanford 20/20 tournament had initially received US$100,000 to prepare their players and upgrade facilities, and were later given $15,000 a month as part of the Stanford 20/20 development programme.

"The system was changed so that each board had to submit its bills to be paid directly by Stanford 20/20," he said. "As I said at the press conference in Antigua, Sir Allen Stanford is very rich, but he's not a benevolent fund, and you have to obey the rules."