ECB in the dark over Stanford reports

The England and Wales Cricket Board insisted today they were "unaware" of reports suggesting Texan Billionaire Sir Allen Stanford was set to end his five-year deal with English cricket.

Reports in today's Daily Mail suggested Stanford was to axe his multi-million dollar deal, which was only signed last summer following negotiations with ECB chairman Giles Clarke, having decided to end his involvement with Twenty20 cricket in West Indies.

They claim Stanford was set to withdraw having already lost US 40million on the venture, comprising 20million to the victorious Super Stars team and 20million in television and sponsorship deals connected to the annual showdown between his side and England.

Stanford was also expected to bankroll the proposed England Premier League Twenty20 tournament, which is due to start in 2009 and feature his All Stars team as one of two overseas sides, while there was also expected to be an annual four-team Twenty20 tournament at Lord's.

Clarke is currently with the England team preparing for the second Test against India at Mohali, but is yet to be informed of the developments.

"We are unaware of the alleged developments," claimed an ECB spokesman. "One of the problems we have is that we are five and a half hours ahead of London, who in turn are five hours ahead of America so we are going to have to juggle time zones."

Stanford is believed to have already called his eight Legends, which include Sir Viv Richards, Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh, into the office in Antigua to tell them their contracts - thought to be worth 10,000 a month - were being terminated.

The end of his high-profile relationship with West Indies cricket, which has plunged vast funds into the Board's coffers in an attempt to lift their flagging fortunes, will also be a costly blow to them.

Both the West Indies and England Boards were due to receive 3.5million a year for the Stanford Super Series while each player in the winning side also received 1million.

A further 1million was shared between the backroom staff of the winning side while 1million was given the reserves of the winning side, which resulted in England receiving nothing for this year's event after being hammered by 10 wickets in October.

If Stanford withdraws his backing from the annual showdown - as seems increasingly likely now he has terminated his involvement with West Indies cricket - it will also represent a major blow to English cricket.

They are expected to lose £10million funding from Sport England following the success of their Chance to Shine grass-roots programme for cricket while team sponsors Vodafone have already announced they will end their £4million backing in January 2010.

England's players were unhappy with the concept of the million-dollar match from the start and were openly critical of its organisation, notably with the way Stanford had open access to their dressing room.

There were also damaging pictures of Stanford with the wives of the England players, with Matt Prior's pregnant wife Emily being seen sitting on his knee.



Sussex wicketkeeper Prior, who is preparing for England's second Test against India in Mohali, admitted the Stanford experience was an unsettling one for him and the team.

Asked about the incident with his wife, Prior said: "She got a rollicking! A lot of stuff is blown hugely out of proportion but that's international sport these days.

"Everyone is keeping an eye on every movement, everything you do, everything your wife does - it's crazy.

"That's sport and you just get on with it, you take it with a pinch of salt and ultimately you try and play cricket and try and perform. That's what it's all about really."

But Prior remained philosophical about the prospect of missing another opportunity to win USD1million and insisted playing for England - particularly after being overlooked for the last year - was his main motivation.

"It's a huge opportunity and to play in one of those Stanford games is fantastic," he admitted.

"It's a potentially life-changing opportunity, but what will be, will be. We're not in control of what happens and what goes on.

"If it carries on then fantastic, but if not there'll be other things. There's a huge amount of money going into cricket at the moment, but maybe because I've been out of it and come back you realise it's not just the cash, it's the huge amount of pride you get from playing for your country.

"It's a fantastic feeling to play for England, especially here in India where the crowds and the atmosphere are amazing.

"It's a huge moment any time you play for England, whether it's a Stanford game, Test match or one-day international. Ultimately the pride of playing for your country for me is the thing that eclipses all other things."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)