The Stanford meltdown

Crisis doesn't threaten board, says WICB chief

Cricinfo staff

February 17, 2009

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Julian Hunte insists the WICB is not dependent on Allen Stanford for its financial viability © Getty Images
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Julian Hunte, the WICB president, has unlike his England counterpart Giles Clarke, refused to admit any "error of judgement" in forming an association with Allen Stanford, who has been charged with "fraud of shocking magnitude" by the Securities and Exchange Commission in the USA. However, the WICB and ECB have issued a joint statement where they confirmed the suspension of negotiations with Stanford and his corporate group. "I don't want to pass any judgement," Hunte told the Trinidad and Tobago Express. "I don't like to kick a man when he's down. What we know is that as we speak, his license has been suspended."

As a result of the crisis, the Stanford 20/20 regional series, which was expected to go ahead despite the disbanding of the board of Legends, is now unlikely to be held. Asked about the future of the tournament Hunte said: "We anticipate that it will not continue (in the immediate future).

"That is not a difficult matter for us to deal with. Either the West Indies Cricket Board on its own or with the assistance of other entrepreneurs, we'll be able to get a tournament going in a way that will make it financially viable for us."

Hunte admitted the Stanford debacle was a setback for West Indies cricket but said it didn't threaten its existence or functioning. "To all intents and purposes, the West Indies Cricket Board is not dependent on Stanford for its financial viability," he said.

"Stanford did, in the midst of all of this, make contributions to the territorial boards to assist them with the development of their cricket. And that has been very useful in terms of having an impact on how our cricket develops. In this regard you're not going to get a Stanford coming around very soon, but we have to make the adjustment to proceed."

However Forbes Persaud, the chief executive of the Trinidad & Tobago board, said the cancellation of the Stanford 20/20 tournament could cost his board up to US$195,000. "Now that this has happened, it would mean that we cannot really look forward to that [money] coming to us again," Persaud told the Trinidad & Tobago Express. "I know our boys were eagerly looking forward to playing in the tournament and the fact that they have frozen all his assets, it would mean that that would be the end of the tournament."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by nafzak on (February 18, 2009, 16:14 GMT)

Blame the WICB for the fiasco at the 2nd test, but as far as the deal with Stanford, let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Hunt is not to blame for this alone. Almost everyone in the Caribbean and their brother was on the WICB case after the WICB initially resisted the temptation to join Stanford. Sir Allen Stanford dished out a lot of dough to the tune of US$10,000. per month to the legends.. Sobers, Hall, Lloyd, Gibbs, Weeks, Richards, Roberts etc. Now Holding and Lloyd were the only ones to pull out when they realised that Mr. Stanford did not put WI cricket first. Sir. Viv Richards was the water boy for Sir Allen and was with him in that helicopter that landed at Lords. look, I don't blame anyone for accepting the money, after all no one else was paying the "legends" this kind of dough.

Posted by bkempster on (February 18, 2009, 15:40 GMT)

We all knew that this was a disaster just waiting to happen. I feel desperately sorry for the players and fans of cricket in the Caribbean. An incredibly proud region with a glowing history within the game has been toyed with in order that "The Suits" can play ball amongst each other. You wonder how long-lived their professional sporting careers would have been had they showed such a lack of judgement on the field? Lured by the promise of riches unavailable elsewhere the trap was easily walked into.

ECB, however, deserve all they get as they were simply pandering to the players in order that they didn't defect to the IPL. I feel no sadness towards either the players or the board as they had wider choice available to them. Clarke's interview n TMS yesterday was an embarassment - hearing him hide behind metaphors and legal trash-talk was pathetic when a simple admission of fault would have sifficed.

Posted by Clickinfo on (February 18, 2009, 13:30 GMT)

Hunte is a complete fool in denial. He has been at the helm during some real messes, especially regarding Digicel ... there is no sponsor for any domestic tournaments, the board is broke, their one source of easy money has gone and he <I>seriously</I> expects people to believe that the WICB is not going to be bankrupted by the Stanford situation. Hunte and Peters sum up why West Indies cricket is, sadly, doomed. Will the last one to leave turn out the lights ...

Posted by NBRADEE on (February 18, 2009, 12:33 GMT)

Mr. Hunte should be called upon to let stakeholders know how the WICB will try to make money into the future without sponsors such as the Stanford Group and CL Financial who are now both in watch-and-see mode. With Governments in the region similarly cash strapped, funding for adminsitration and development are more limited now than ever before.

Radical thinking is necessary for the WICB to carry any masterplan forward, and rather than ask Dr. Hunte and his board to resign over this latest sitaution with Sir Allen, I would hope that the WICB put its house in order re: the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground fiasco (someone or some people at the regional level need STILL to be called into account for this non-event). Having a new board come in will not necessarily change the modus operandi of Windies cricekt administrators, as we have seen for more than a decade now. If the ICC is really interested in the state of the gema in this part of the world, they need to come forward also.

Is this one mess too far for the executive of the WICB ... is it time for Julian Hunte to quit or is he right in what he says?
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