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Page last updated at 19:23 GMT, Saturday, 1 November 2008

ECB defends Stanford involvement

Giles Clarke
Giles Clarke has found himself the target of criticism in Antigua

The England and Wales Cricket Board launched a staunch defence of its participation in the Stanford Series as it faced up to a volley of criticism.

Hampshire chairman Rod Bransgrove said the ECB hierarchy should move aside and former ECB chairman Lord MacLaurin branded the event a pantomime.

But current ECB chairman Giles Clarke said there would be no resignations.

And chief executive David Collier said he was content the issues which had provoked concern had been addressed.

Bankroller Sir Allen Stanford's behaviour during the week led to him apologising to the England squad and agreeing not to enter the dressing room, while there have also been on-field concerns over the quality of the pitch, outfield and floodlights.

"Obviously no I didn't expect it," said Clarke, referring to the level of criticism. "I have no intention of resigning. There will not be resignations.

"We are doing something completely novel, there are a large number of cultural issues to have come out of this.

"There have been a lot of interesting points made and we are going to think very carefully about the points that people have made.

"There are things we want to digest, think about, which will be looked at in the review which we do at the end of every tour."

That review will be carried out with some urgency, however, and will include a rethink of how money on future Stanford trips during the five-year deal be split and whether to call the team England.

Although matches involving Texan Stanford's Caribbean collective are sanctioned by the International Cricket Council, they do not have official status.

So there is an argument for calling England by another name - Kevin Pietersen's All Stars for example - to protect the heritage of the national side.

Clarke said: "We discussed that when we started looking at this and in the end the feeling was that if one of our objectives was to break into the United States market, which it was, then the brand England was essential. We talked to the players about this."

The moment you accept someone's money, whether it be the Royal Bank of Scotland or NatWest or Vodafone or Stanford, there are two sides to that coin

Giles Clarke
There is also some unease over the divisive nature of matches which offer $1m a man to members of the winning team and only a quarter of that total for those in the squad on the sidelines.

Sean Morris, chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association, has been relaying the team's concerns to their bosses this week.

He said: "It has created a different dynamic in the dressing room without a doubt. The players realise it does have impact on some of the relationships in the dressing room."

Clarke was again on swift to defend his standpoint, saying: "These types of opportunities don't come very often and it would have been interesting to hear what Sean would have said to David and I if we had turned down the chance for his guys to earn major money, we had turned down the chance to get money for the domestic game, and we'd turned down the opportunity to spread the whole Chance to Shine project into the West Indies.

"The moment you accept someone's money, whether it be the Royal Bank of Scotland or NatWest or Vodafone or Stanford, there are two sides to that coin."

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see also
ECB plans Stanford Series review
29 Oct 08 |  England
Antigua lights concern Pietersen
27 Oct 08 |  England
Stanford Super Series results
02 Nov 08 |  Cricket

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