Tim May has stepped down as chief executive of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) barely a month after he controversially lost his position on the ICC cricket committee to Laxman Sivaramakrishnan. May has been in charge of FICA since 2005 but said he realised over the past 18 months that he was "tiring of working in a sport that was increasingly at odds with the principles I respect".
The loss of May from the ranks of player representatives marks the end of a 16-year era, for he has been involved since becoming the inaugural president of the Australian Cricketers' Association in 1997. However, May said he had become increasingly frustrated at the direction cricket administration was taking, including its apparent unwillingness to make governance changes recommended by the Woolf Report.
"More and more we see allegations of corruption and malpractice on and off the field dominating headlines," May said. "As stakeholders in the game we look to leadership from the ICC to address these and other issues - a vital ingredient of any organisation is the ability of its leaders to set the moral and principled example to others, and to police its organisation from top to bottom to ensure adherence to those principles.
"Yet cricket increasingly seems to be pushing aside the principles of transparency, accountability, independence, and upholding the best interests of the global game, in favour of a system that appears to operate through threats, intimidation and backroom deals. Despite FICA and many other stakeholders pushing for the recommendations of the Woolf Report to be implemented to address these shortcomings, the ICC board see no reason to change."
Among other things, the Woolf Report of 2012 recommended the ICC executive board becoming more independent and less dominated by the bigger countries, and also called for greater transparency at board level. May said both the Woolf Report and 2001's Condon Report into cricket corruption should have led to positive change in the sport, including in its relationships with the players.
"I hope that the ICC and more of its board's members take heed of the recommendations of both Lord Condon and the Woolf Report and form closer and more productive relationships with players and their representatives - rather than the current trend to resist proper player representation; the players deserve better," May said.
"Increasingly the administrators of the game seek to force out or alienate those who question its alleged misuse of power, or those who seek greater transparency, or provide rational argument against the ills of the administration. It appears that some administrators just don't want to be held to account to the standards that are expected of them.
"There is a great opportunity for the ICC to arrest this trend and become one of the world's best governed sports. For the future of the global interests of the game, I hope this happens sooner than later - because the current system is failing us."
"Tim was a very good cricketer but without question his greatest impact on the game was to provide a voice for players where there had been none previously" Former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming
May told the FICA board of his resignation, which is effective immediately, at its recent annual meeting. The organisation is expected to announce a new leadership structure in the coming days. Michael Clarke, the Australia captain, said the players of the current era had plenty of reasons to thanks May for his contributions to their cause.
"When I heard the news that Tim May was resigning from FICA, my immediate thoughts were that this was a sad day for the game and the world's players," Clarke said. "Throughout my time in cricket Tim has been a constant presence, taking on the tough issues on behalf of all players and doing so with amazing passion, strength and leadership. From a players' perspective, his influence on the game should never be forgotten. It's difficult to imagine where the players of today would be without Tim May's contribution."
Former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming said he was thankful to May in helping them form the New Zealand Players' Association in 2001. "I watched with interest as Tim established the Australian Players Association and he was then a great help to us as we got our own Association organised in 2001," he said. "Tim was a very good cricketer but without question his greatest impact on the game was to provide a voice for players where there had been none previously. This takes tremendous strength of character and real understanding of not only the playing of the sport, but also the business of the sport. The players of today and those of the future have a lot to thank him for."
Brendon McCullum, the New Zealand captain, and AB de Villiers, the South Africa captain, also expressed gratitude on their team's behalf and said May's work meant players around the world were in a much better position.