Racing: I have fallen on my sword, says Ascot chief
Friday 20 October 2006
Douglas Erskine-Crum, the man who oversaw the £210m redevelopment of Ascot racecourse, has quit, barely four months after the venue's flagship Royal meeting opened and closed to uncompromisingly mixed reviews. But, insisted the 57-year-old ex-army man, he has not been made a scapegoat for criticism the project has attracted.
"I have not fallen on my sword," he said yesterday, "nor have I been pushed onto it. It is just that the time has come for me to find a new challenge. I had never planned to finish my working life at Ascot."
Erskine-Crum will leave his position as chief executive in the New Year. The creation of the new grandstand and realignment of the track over 20 months have been the focus of much of his tenure of more than 12 years at the course. But the new-look Ascot has not met with universal approval, the most vociferous criticisms being over problems with viewing. Remedial works costing an estimated additional £25m will be required; the details will be announced next month.
The Ascot executive is perfectly aware of the implications of Erskine-Crum's departure so soon after the qualified success of such a high-profile revolution. "There are more conspiracy theorists in the US than there are Christians," said the chairman, the Duke of Devonshire. "But they would have no joy here. There are, we know, some things wrong but very much more right. Douglas has taken Ascot into the 21st century and realised its potential as one of the great racecourses of the world. We are indebted to him."
The announcement of Erskine-Crum's resignation has been timed for Ascot to find a replacement before the Royal fixture in June. "It is certainly not a poisoned chalice," added Devonshire. "The most off-putting part of the job will be the act to be followed."
Latest in Sport
Arsenal have no plans to stock Petr Cech inspired caps in their club shops - yet
Morgan Schneiderlin to Manchester United: Saints yet to receive 'serious offer' but midfielder could complete move by end of this week
Radamel Falcao to Chelsea: Former Manchester United striker 'signs contract' to join Blues and is told to meet up with squad on pre-season tour
Venezuelan TV host gets completely naked while reporting on Copa America win over Colombia
Manchester United transfer news: Javier Hernandez nears exit as Liverpool eye move for striker despite revealing Real Madrid video
- 1 Kim Jong-un shows off airport designed by architect he likely had executed
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 4 Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L James's Twitter Q&A didn't go exactly as planned
- 5 Facebook rainbow profile pictures likely being tracked by social network
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
Tunisia beach attack: How can British Muslims respond to the latest outrages?
£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...
£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...