THE Stanford party is officially over, and the sceptics have been proved correct. The ECB have served notice that they are terminating with immediate effect their contracts with the Stanford group, having already budgeted for the collapse of the proposed programme.
The ECB confirmed in an announcement that they would not be proceeding with any further Stanford Twenty20 matches in Antigua or the Stanford-sponsored international Quadrangular Twenty20 events in England, due to be held at Lordís in May. At a meeting of the ECB executive committee on Feb 20, chief executive David Collier confirmed the notice sent to counties the previous day that the executive committee and ECB Board, during the budget process, had taken a prudent view to income from a number of sources.
As a result, the termination of the Stanford agreements had no impact on the projected fee payments to counties and the Recreational Assembly. John Pickup, chairman of the Recreational Assembly, commented: "At a time when the global economic climate is putting great pressure on sponsorship and finances for club and community sport, the ECB have taken a responsible and prudent attitude to its financial planning.
"The report from the chief executive demonstrated the wisdom of this approach, and it is pleasing to receive confirmation that the commitments from ECB within the memorandum of understanding for the Recreational Assembly are to be fulfilled. Over the past four years we have made great strides in the funding for the recreational game, and the certainty of income has been a key factor in the game being able to deliver increases in participation numbers in excess of 20 per cent in each of the past two years."
David East, chief executive of Essex and a member of the ECB executive committee, said: "The communication from ECB yesterday that the termination of the Stanford agreements would not negatively impact our fee payments was a great relief to all counties. Today the further confirmation of this fact allows counties to move forward with their 2009 budgets given that, for some counties the ECB fee payment accounts for the majority of their income.
"The economic climate is very difficult at present, in particular in the area of sponsorship and corporate hospitality, and therefore a solid income base through the ECB fee payments is critical to all counties, which is why we were anxious to receive this confirmation. The executive committee fully supported the Board's decision to terminate the Stanford agreements."
Collier added: "The ECB weres shocked by the charges filed against the Stanford organisation and personnel earlier this week by the SEC. Within minutes of the announcement the ECB determined to suspend any further discussions with Stanford, and the Board has now agreed to terminate the ECBís agreements with Stanford. Given the uncertainty of the financial markets and the sponsorship dispute between Digicel and the West Indies Cricket Board over the matches in Antigua in 2008, the executive committee and Board when setting the 2009 budgets took a prudent position in creating a contingency in case the Antigua matches did not proceed. For that reason ECB were able to confirm immediately to counties and the Recreational Assembly that there would be no impact on fee payments in 2009."