Mike Brearley, chairman of the MCC's World Cricket Committee, has apologised to Giles Clarke, the ECB president, after suggesting Clarke would have to "do what he's told" with regard to the possibility of cricket seeking to become an Olympic sport.
Brearley was speaking at a press conference after the MCC announced its support for cricket's involvement in the Olympics. Clarke, who was ECB chairman between 2007 and 2015, is understood to be opposed to an Olympic bid.
However, Brearley said there could be a change of stance at the ECB, after discussions with the new chairman, Colin Graves, and chief executive, Tom Harrison. Clarke became the ECB's first president when Graves succeeded him and Brearley said he would have to accept whatever decision the governing body made.
"Colin and Tom acknowledged that the view of the ECB has been strongly anti it, but they say they are open to rethinking," Brearley said. "The president of the ECB is an employee of the board and has to report to the board. He has to do what he's told."
The MCC has now released a statement from Brearley, clarifying his comments.
"I have apologised to Giles Clarke," Brearley said. "What I should have said was that if the ECB changes its policy regarding cricket in the Olympics, then it would of course be Giles' job to present that policy to ICC. Giles is not an employee of the ECB board and I did not intend to imply that he was."
The latest gathering of the World Cricket Committee also led to criticism of the ICC's decision to reduce the World Cup to ten teams, calling it "a handbrake for the development of the sport". The committee, which is made up of former players and officials and is independent of the MCC, meets twice a year to discuss issues affecting the game.