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Page last updated at 20:49 GMT, Monday, 19 January 2009

Marland withdraws from ECB race

Lord Marland
Lord Marland cited a lack of county support for his withdrawal

Lord Marland has withdrawn from the election to be chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

Marland, the former Conservative Party treasurer, made a late challenge to incumbent chairman Giles Clarke just before the deadline a fortnight ago.

But the 52-year-old cited a lack of county support and offered his "sincere congratulations" to Clarke.

"I hope that my candidacy has thrown light on issues that must be urgently addressed in English cricket," he said.

"Not least the absence of a structure which enables our excellent national players and team to flourish.

"The fractures within our domestic game, our standing with our traditional overseas partners, and the finances of the sport, have all combined to create a toxicity in the sport."

To oust Clarke, Marland would have needed 10 votes from the 18 first-class counties and the MCC, but he claims several counties refused even to meet him to hear his views.

"It is now clear to me that I will on this occasion be unable to obtain a majority of the votes required," he said.

Former Somerset chairman Clarke, who became the head of English cricket's governing body in September 2007, is now likely to be voted in unopposed for a second term when the ballot closes early next week.

Marland, who oversaw Boris Johnson's successful campaign to be Mayor of London, had pledged to raise a 100m capital fund for development across all 18 counties if elected as chairman.

But despite being fiercely critical of Clarke's tenure, he claimed that he still intended to help English cricket in any way he could.

Marland was particularly scornful of the ECB's handling of the rift between Kevin Pietersen and Peter Moores which led to the resignation of the captain and the sacking of the coach, and Clarke's part in brokering the controversial 50m deal with Texan billionaire Sir Allen Stanford in a lucrative Twenty20 winner-takes-all format.

I think our teams have been badly prepared, badly run and as a simple cricket fan it's time that is changed

Lord Marland

"There has been non-stop fire-fighting in the ECB," said Marland during a campaign in which he saw himself as the "unifying candidate" and the man needed to end the "current divisiveness" within the English game.

"Most important, we need to foster a new spirit of co-operation and once again sit at the top table internationally - that is the only platform from which English cricket can hope to prosper," he said.

A key part of Marland's campaign was the focus on England's dismal performances since the Ashes were won in 2005.

"The performance of the England team since the fantastic victory in 2005 with the unprecedented money coming into cricket has been dire," he added.

"We've won two Test matches overseas in the last two years, which were against New Zealand, we had a terrible World Cup and we have not really got to grips with Twenty20 cricket.

"India sent their second team to play in the World Cup and won and we failed to challenge them there.

"I think our teams have been badly prepared, badly run and as a simple cricket fan it's time that is changed."

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see also
Bransgrove points finger at ECB
09 Jan 09 |  Hampshire
ECB defends Stanford involvement
01 Nov 08 |  England
No agreement on England IPL deal
16 Nov 08 |  England

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