Clarke unrepentant over Stanford

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The Independent Online

Giles Clarke claims he has received more than 9,000 e-mails of support urging him to remain as chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board despite his role in the Stanford controversy.

The 55-year-old former Somerset chairman has faced calls to step down from his position after negotiating a lucrative five-year deal with Texan billionaire Sir Allen Stanford, who has since been charged with fraud by the US authorities.

But speaking just 24 hours after being re-elected as chairman for the next two years, Clarke remains defiant about the embarrassing turn of events and claimed he had vast support to continue in his role.

Asked whether he had considered resigning in an interview with BBC Five Live, Clarke stressed: "I haven't and that's not because I'm bull-headed or ignorant about other people's opinions - I've had over 9,000 e-mails saying 'pay no attention'."

Clarke also attempted to defend the ECB's reasons for entering into the contract with Stanford, which would have committed England to playing an annual winner-takes-all US 20million Twenty20 match in Antigua for the next five years.

Last October's event was marred with controversy after England's players complained about the facilities and lost the match to the Stanford Superstars, while Stanford was forced to issue a public apology after being seen bouncing Matt Prior's pregnant wife on his knee during one of the matches.

Since the charges were revealed against Stanford, the ECB have cancelled all contracts with him and negotiations towards him backing a quadrangular Twenty20 tournament featuring England at Lord's every summer.

But Giles said: "The board was approached to play games which brought in money for the benefit of our game. We did it because we believed we were raising funds which would help the infrastructure of our game."