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ECB director resigns in wake of compensation scheme furore

ECB director resigns in wake of compensation scheme furore

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By: SportBusiness International team

8 Mar 2018
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Andy Nash has hit out at what he claims are unacceptable levels of corporate governance at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after tendering his resignation as a director in protest over the emergence of a compensation package scheme for the country’s Test match grounds.

Nash, formerly chairman of Somerset, a non-Test match hosting county, has made the move following revelations made in The Times earlier this week.

The UK newspaper’s report stated that Test match venues will be granted between £500,000 (€558,000/$694,000) and £2.5m for the years in which they will not host games as part of the governing body’s new match allocation strategy.

The Times said all Test match venues except Lord’s and the Oval in London, which will stage Tests every summer during the five-year period spanning 2020 to 2024, are due to receive £500,000 for each year that they will not host a Test.

This will mean Hampshire is set to be awarded £2.5m in compensation after its Ageas Bowl (pictured) was not awarded a Test during this period. Headingley in Leeds will host Tests in 2021, 2022 and 2023 meaning Yorkshire stands to gain £1m, while Warwickshire, Lancashire and Nottinghamshire are each set to receive £500,000 after Edgbaston, Old Trafford and Trent Bridge only missed out on one Test apiece over the five-year cycle.

The Times added that Glamorgan has already been awarded more than £1m in compensation for agreeing not to bid for any Tests at its SSE SWALEC Stadium from 2020 to 2024.

Nash has stated that the compensation agreement was made without the ECB board’s approval or knowledge, adding the scheme “clearly signals to many a move to promote eight counties as the first among equals”.

“I've recently become concerned that the standards of corporate governance at ECB are falling well short of what's acceptable and in all conscience I can't allow myself to continue to be associated with it,” Nash wrote in a letter to ECB chairman Colin Graves reported by the ESPNcricinfo website.

“I would be failing in my duty as a director if I didn't bring these to the board's attention and this I've tried to do. The current fiasco over the actual / alleged / planned payments to TMGs (Test Match Grounds) is an exemplar. Whether intentional or not it clearly signals to many a move to promote eight counties as the first among equals. As an ardent supporter of the 18 FCCs (First Class Counties) this is not a direction of travel I can live with.

“It's also come to my attention in the last 24 hours that my actions as a listening and conscientious NXD are sadly misunderstood and misinterpreted by yourself. I sincerely regret that because all I want is the best for the game and for good governance of the ECB.”

The ECB last month unveiled the results of a new hosting rights model used to determine the venues for its men’s international fixtures and domestic showpieces across the period spanning 2020 to 2024.

The ECB’s new system for assigning hosting rights saw grounds pitch for hosting rights, rather than the previous process of bidding against each other, which had an adverse effect on the finances of some counties.

An independent Host Venue Panel, led by ECB deputy chairman Ian Lovett, determined that 10 different venues would stage high profile international and domestic men’s matches. England Test matches will be held at the core venues of Lord’s, the Oval, Edgbaston, Old Trafford, Headingley and Trent Bridge over the five-year period.

ESPNcricinfo added that a county chief executive has called for an independent inquiry into the ECB’s compensation scheme following Nash’s resignation.

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