Tue, Jan 20, 2009 - Page 18 News List

Businessman to challenge Giles Clarke for ECB post

AFP , LONDON

Businessman Jonathan Marland announced on Sunday he will stand against Giles Clarke for the post of England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairman as the fallout from the Kevin Pietersen saga took another twist.

Clarke, who became the head of English cricket’s governing body in September 2007, is keen to serve a second two-year term in office when his current spell expires on March 31.

But Marland, 52, a member of the British House of Lords, who was also the treasurer of Britain’s main opposition Conservative party from 2003 to 2007, has thrown his hat into the ring.

The existing unhappiness in some quarters with the way the ECB was being run under Clarke’s leadership intensified following the sacking this month of England coach Peter Moores after a clash with Pietersen which cost the star batsman his job as England captain.

There were many who felt such a falling out, which came in the run-up to the team’s departure for their tour of the West Indies and in an Ashes year, was entirely predictable given the personalities of the two men involved.

That in turn led to a feeling, expressed by England great Geoff Boycott, that, if both Moores and Pietersen were to lose their prize positions, someone in the hierarchy who helped make the decision that brought them together as coach and captain should have gone too.

Prior to that embarrassment, concerns had already been expressed about Clarke’s enthusiasm for negotiations with billionaire Allen Stanford, which led to England’s ill-fated participation in last year’s winner-takes-all Stanford Twenty20 tournament in Antigua.

“I believe it is vital for English cricket in its current situation to have a contest for the chairmanship of the ECB,” Marland said.

“There are deep schisms within the game which need to be healed, and I believe I can be a unifying candidate,” he said.

“The image of our game has been very badly damaged during Giles Clarke’s time at the helm and the Stanford and Moores/Pietersen affairs of recent months have highlighted both errors of judgement and management failures,” Marland said.

Once nominations for the post have been accepted, the ECB has 48 hours to call an election, which must take place within two weeks.

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