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banner Monday, 30 July, 2001, 10:19 GMT 11:19 UK
Acfield steps down
Essex chairman David Acfield
Acfield: Part of the Chelmsford scene since the 1960s
Essex chairman David Acfield is stepping down in order to concentrate on his business interests.

The 54-year-old former off-spinner has been chairman for the past eight years after playing for the club between 1966 and 1986.

"The role of chairman in the modern game has become increasingly time consuming, and for many years I have tried to balance the conflicting demands of my various responsibilities in cricket, whilst holding down a full-time job.

"Unfortunately the situation has become impossible to sustain," he explained.

He will, however, remain on the England and Wales Cricket Board Management Board and continue to serve on committees of the MCC and International Cricket Council.

Acfield's decision comes at a difficult time for Essex, with the team facing the prospect of relegation from Division One of the County Championship, and reports of dressing room unrest.

"After 35 years involvement with Essex, it will be a huge wrench but I will, of course, be available to help the club in any less damdning role.

""I would urge all of our members and supporters to get behind the players and committee at this difficult time, so that the club can prosper once again," he said.

A new chairman will be appointed in the near future.

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