ECB president Giles Clarke could be called to appear before the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee if one conservative MP has his way to explain his support for the Big Three power grab within the ICC
Giles Clarke could be called to appear before the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee if one conservative MP has his way.
Damian Collins, MP for Folkestone and Hythe, has applied to be chairman of the committee for Clarke to be invited to account for his actions as the ECB's representative at the ICC.
In particular, he wants him to explain the decision to distribute the finances of global tournaments to the advantage of India, England and Australia and the apparent disadvantage of the other 102 member nations - be they full, associate or affiliate - of the ICC.
ECB chief admits India's strength and influence
Tom Harrison, the ECB chief executive, has defended the decision to rearrange the funding of global events for the benefit of the 'Big Three' ICC nations and suggested the BCCI's decision to invest their increased funding in the development of cricket in India as "laudable." As a result of changes brought in last year, the BCCI, the ECB and Cricket Australia share more than 50% of the revenue from global events, with the remaining 102 ICC nations - be they full, associate or affiliate members - sharing the rest. But Harrison pointed out that India generate the vast majority of money from the World Cup, the World T20 and the ICC Champions Trophy and therefore warranted a much larger share of the revenues. He also suggested that had England attempted to object to such plans, India could have left the ICC altogether which would have adversely affected the game across the globe. "If you're earning 80 or 90% from one market, which is true in the case of India, it's fair enough," he said. "You may not agree with it, but it's fair enough for India to get the lion's share to build cricket in that country. You may not agree with that but it's a very laudable. "Imagine a world where we're talking about Test cricket without India involved or even international cricket without India. "They have the absolute economic ability to do that in a way that's difficult for other sports to comprehend."
Clarke, the former chairman and current president of the ECB, has become the focal point for anger after his less than flattering portrayal in the documentary Death of a Gentleman, which alleges that poor governance of the game at a global level has endangered the future of the sport.
The film is also critical of the decision to cut the World Cup to a 10-team tournament and draws attention to the ICC's decision to disregard an independent report in 2012 from Lord Woolf and the financial services company, PricewaterhouseCoopers which referred to the conflict of interest implicit in the composition and membership of the ICC, chaired by N Srinivasan of India.
"Cricket has been taken over by England, Australia and India at the expense of the other 102 countries that play the game," said Collins, who has previously been highly critical of the poor governance standards and corruption in FIFA.
"These three titans of the game have engineered a backroom power grab where cricket is the loser and England, Australia and India are the perennial winners. Not only are they doing the wrong thing by their sport, but it is a conflict of interest. It is clear they do not have an interest in developing and growing the game globally, but only in their own backyards."
Collins was among the demonstrators at a protest outside the Hobbs Gates at the Kia Oval ahead of play in the fifth Investec Test. The protest, organised by the film makers, was designed to draw attention to the campaign Change Cricket, calling for more transparency and fairness in the global governance of the sport.
The protest, while only attended by a few dozen campaigners, gathered a large amount of media attention while those present included Paul Burnham, the founder of the Barmy Army, noted cricket historian Gideon Haigh, Wisden editor Lawrence Booth and Jamie Fuller, chairman of SKINS, an Australian sportswear company and a sports ethics campaigner.
Death of a Gentleman film makers Sam Collins and Jarrod Kimber protest outside The Oval•Getty Images
Billy Cooper, the Barmy Army trumpeter, played the Last Post to mark the silence.
"It is vital to have transparency in sporting organisations," Collins told ESPNcricinfo. "We saw with FIFA what can happen if that is not the case. While nobody is alleging that cricket is that bad, it is important we spell out the dangers now as we have seen before that consolidation of power can do. A small group can shift the balance of power to the detriment of people.
"I would like to see Giles Clarke respond to the challenges that have been made to him. What he has been party to has been bad for cricket and raises questions about his judgement.
"I will ask the sports select committee to summon Giles Clarke to explain his role. I will be asking the committee if they are interested in taking this further. They have a role to play in asking the questions people want to avoid answering."
Meanwhile, the North Somerset Times, the local paper of Clarke, printed a mock obituary to the death of cricket. The obituary, actually an advert paid for by SKINS, in the style of the original Ashes obituary, reiterated the criticism of Clarke and called on cricket lovers to join the Change Cricket campaign and sign the petition at: www.changecricket.com.
Sam Collins (no relation to Damian Collins), one of the documentary makers, told ESPNcricinfo: "We are calling for Giles Clarke to resign. As long as he is involved, it seems the game cannot go forward.
"On his watch, participation and viewership figures went down and he has stood in the way of global growth. It is time for him to go."
In a separate demonstration outside the ground, a protestor dressed in a reindeer costume was hoping to draw attention to England captain Alastair Cook's apparent fondness for hunting. Carrying a banner adorned with a picture of Cook posing with a recently-shot deer, the placard stated: "Shame on you Alastair Cook. Deer do not want to die."