February 2009
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John Stern: West Indies the real loser in Stanford saga

February 18th, 2009 by John Stern in England, west indies

Forget the ECB. They got what they deserved: shame and embarrassment. Let’s hope Giles Clarke gets what he deserves.

But the real losers out of this whole Stanford mess is the island of Antigua and West Indies cricket as a whole. Stanford preyed on the needs and desires of a tiny, poor Caribbean island. He used cricket as a way of buying influence and power. He worked out pretty quickly that was the way to go. But whatever his motives or his methods, he became a major employer and he had an influence on cricket on the island and the region.

And, as time has passed, that influence has been shown to be not entirely malign. The boot camp that the Stanford Superstars underwent before the Super Series last November not only yielded material success for that group of players, it appeared to inject a self-belief into cricket in the Caribbean that had been absent for years. West Indies’ staggering victory in Jamaica was evidence of that.

But in the space of week, all that has gone. Antiguan and Caribbean cricket has been shamed by the pitch farce at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium and now cut adrift by the alleged nefarious actions of a man who was recently described by World Finance magazine as “the original philanthrocapitalist”.

It would be nice to think otherwise but West Indies cricket may be back at square one, embarrassed and demotivated. The administration has always been shambolic and their alliance with Stanford has exposed this.

But West Indies were desperate – for success and money. What was the ECB’s excuse? The misguided, craven view that raising pots of cash – wherever it comes from – is their sole raison d’etre. Money might not be the root of ALL evil but it’s certainly got plenty to answer for. But not as much as Messrs Stanford and Clarke.

John Stern is editor of The Wisden Cricketer

Posted in England, west indies | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “John Stern: West Indies the real loser in Stanford saga”

  1.   The Village Cricketer says:

    John, what precisely does Giles Clarke deserve? He’s certainly got egg on his face from his dealing with Stanford, but do you expect him to lose his job too for embracing a potential sponsor?

    You might not like the fact that Stanford is a loud, brash Texan, who flaunted his money, flew a helicopter into Lords and did not show due deference to the stuffed shirts. I’m sure Wisden is now delighted to be able to say ‘I told you so’ and that lairy Americans that bounce WAGS on their knees and don’t understand the subtleties of the longer form have no part to play in the English game.

    English cricket (like other nations and sports) is dependent on sponsorship and Stanford provided what - until recently - looked like a good source. Clarke would have been neglecting his duties not to explore the opportunities on offer, no matter how unpalatable the individual offering that sponsorship. I’m no great fan of the ECB, however as far as I see it Clarke only did what is part of his job, that of seeking sponsorship to help fund and grow the game.

    Stanford might be proved a crook and the US courts will probably decide whether that is the case. The ECB has suspended negotiations after it transpired that there is a case for Stanford to answer. Not sure what more you’d expect?

  2.   D Charlton says:


    Clarke was not thorough with his due diligence or very clever with his character assessment - this is not hindsight: Australia, India, South Africa and Sri Lanka had already turned down offers to get into bed with Stanford - did Clarke pick up the phone to ask them why?

    The US authorities had been sniffing around him for ages. Did Clarke pick up the phone to ask them why?

    Stanford turned up to an important business meeting with a coffin load of cash - would Clarke normally do business with someone who behaves like that!?

    Clarke has to go.

  3.   G Monrow says:

    The status that Clarke is afforded within the ECB structure means it is his responsibility to safeguard English interests.

    By all means entertain a potential sponsor. But when there are already whispers he is crooked make sure you investigate him thoroughly.

    And allowing him to land a helicopter at Lord’s trailing a plastic crate of money – I mean come on – there’s publicity and there’s publicity.

    Clarke will probably survive due to a lack of credible alternative, but when you hold a high profile position you can have no complaints if you are held accountable when your decisions go horribly wrong.

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