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WICB President Oversteps Batting Crease

By Orin Davidson

Dec. 29th, 2008
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“The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) does not depend on Mr Allen Stanford for its financial well-being,”

Such a statement, so boorish in tone and thought, would be expected from a high and mighty establishment, awash in success and well secured in its independence.

Well, guess what?

WICB President Julian Hunte.

You would be shocked to discover it came from none other than the West Indies Cricket Board president, the head of an organization which has long developed a reputation as one of the worst managed national cricket entities that has left it mired financial distress most of its existence.

According to the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC), Julian Hunte, the latest head of the Board was reacting to speculation that it faces a bleak financial future following Stanford’s decision to rethink his continued investment in West Indies cricket.

Even if the WICB head wants to pretend, they will not miss Stanford’s philatropism, Hunte’s declaration was arrogant and uncalled for and could drive home the final nail in the coffin that could bury the American billionaire businessman’s relationship with the Regional sport.

If Hunte feels the WICB could do without Stanford’s money, it would be at a regrettable cost?

West Indies cricket will continue to exist, but in its stagnated backward state without much hope for development which has resulted in the Regional team being rooted at the bottom of the world rankings for more than a decade.

Hunte claims the Board has only earned $US 2M from its relationship with Stanford so far. But what of all the disbursements to the individual territories since 2006?. What about the increased interest among West Indians following the impact of the three Stanford tournaments staged so far? Not to mention the professionalism that all those players have learned, especially the Stanford All Stars, preparing for those competitions and the staggering financial rewards.
Could Hunte and his WICB ever dream of making 11 players instant millionaires and enrich others from the Guyana, Trinidad and Jamaica teams, that cashed in from the Stanford Twenty 20 series, within two short years?
In addition the WICB stood to earn many millions more from Stanford in the next five years.

Stanford came into West Indies cricket on his own accord. He did not have to be goaded by the WICB and they ought to be grateful for his investment.

In the current climate of Global economic problems, where sports sponsorship is already taking a hit, does Hunte really believe it will be easier to attract investors to West Indies cricket?

At a time when the England and Wales Cricket Board was sent into a panic following Stanford’s planned review which includes competitions in England, the WICB president is exhibiting a “don’t care” attitude.

This is the ECB that could afford to continuously sign scores of players to high paying contracts to the national squad and rakes in multi millions more every year from television rights, sponsorship and gate revenues.

With Stanford on board, the ECB has the opportunity to earn much more, and from the jittery reaction of its officials, you see the level of importance they attach to preserving their relationship with the American finance mogul.

Compare the ECB’s resources to that of the WICB - which can only talk of contracting its players full time, cannot afford a professional league, having to make so with two amateur miniature competitions for the senior team, cannot afford a single academy for players, and you appreciate the magnitude of Hunte’s intolerable outburst.

And this is from the leader of an organization that has committed almost every blunder by a professional sports entity, the latest being its failed attempt to breach its sponsorship contract with Digicel, that resulted in an embarrassing and costly court defeat, which from all appearances, precipitated Stanford’s action.

The world knows the sordid details surrounding the WICB’s attempt, to give Stanford unilateral rights to the team comprising West Indies players (Stanford All Stars) that eventually beat England in the US $20 million dollar Stanford 20/20 for 20 Winner Take All Game.

In these days of stringent accountability, in any other international sports body, you would’ve had mass resignations from the WICB, as a result.

Instead you have the president behaving as those he has just conquered the world, and has a right to be pompous.

It brings to the surface once again, the misguided thinking of West Indian sports administrators.

From all appearances Julian Hunte believes West Indies cricket is all about himself and his cohorts of 18-odd directors and the paid employees.

This level of indignant behavior and the failures of the previous holders of office, are continuing to aggravate the West Indies cricket public, to whom the sport belongs and for whom every player and official is obligated to give their best for, first and foremost.

You are forced to believe that Hunte and company are refusing to accept this reality as they .
they continue to act oblivious of the resentment of fans and supporters.

If he wants further evidence, Hunte only has to stage a poll throughout the West Indies and beyond among those fans. It would reveal an overwhelming desire to rid the WICB of the majority of its administrators and the current failed structure used to manage the sport.

The fans know that the interests of the sport plays second fiddle to almost everything else within the Board, especially appointments, particularly the cricket ones. .

Despite the Patterson Report, compiled by three distinguished sons of the Region, which exposed in detail the flaws inherent in the WICB’s operations and the recommendations made. Despite, the public put -down of Hunte and his CEO by Digicel Chairman Dennis O'Brien who called for their resignations, the president continues to do what he knows best, that of playing politics..

He is always quick out of the blocks to respond to any media report or statement the Board believes shows it poor light. They would win an A grade for defense mechanism activation

West Indies cricket, though is the wrong forum to play politics. It is not St Lucia politics where Hunte was a prominent player and apparently got his own way using such tactics while operating from the opposition ranks.

West Indies cricket is much bigger than that, It affects the lives of eight million people in the region and more overseas.

He must either shape up or ship out.

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Orin Davidson Column Homepage


What would it take to put West Indies cricket in order, since administrators to administrators has sunk the cricket. Have they tried everything? I highly doubt that. I am deeply saddened the way Mr. Julian Hunte is conducting the business of West Indies cricket. It is about time we get someone competent at the helm which i know is a difficult task. Are there anyone in the Caribbean capable of taking West Indies out of this mess? I can’t think of anyone right now, lets get some suggestion.
Posted by Intiaz Khan on December 29, 2008.

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