Ian Watmore cleared to become ECB chairman after review of EFL conduct

  • Watmore will replace Colin Graves at end of August
  • ECB carried out ‘confidential review’ of his brief time at EFL

Colin Graves will step down as chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board on 31 August, allowing Ian Watmore to take over after he was cleared of any wrongdoing by a review of his brief spell on the board of the Football League.

Graves, who is now expected to run to become chair of the International Cricket Council when Shashank Manohar departs this summer, had previously extended his five-year term at the ECB by six months in order to oversee the first year of the Hundred.

With that tournament now postponed until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, however, the 72-year-old former Yorkshire chairman and Costcutter magnate will pass the baton on to Watmore sooner, subject to ratification by the ECB annual general meeting at the end of this month.

The appointment of Watmore as the ECB’s first salaried chairman has not been entirely smooth despite a strong CV that includes a background in business as chief executive of Accenture, 16 years as a senior civil servant, a short tenure as chief executive of the Football Association and time on the boards of various sporting bodies.

Ian Watmore.
Ian Watmore was on the board of the EFL for only four months. Photograph: Barrington Coombs/Getty Images for ECB

A report last month in the Daily Mail highlighted a question mark over the 61-year-old’s conduct during a four-month stint on the board of the EFL, with the suggestion that a meeting held with Mel Morris, the Derby County owner, had prompted the threat of a breakaway league during a disagreement over a new rights deal.

When announcing on Friday that Watmore remains chair-elect, however, an ECB statement said: “During an extensive process, that included a confidential review of the report referenced in media, the subcommittee has universally agreed that there was no evidence to support any allegation of wrongdoing on Ian Watmore’s part. In addition, it was concluded that the appointment process had been undertaken in a thorough and professional manner and the board now regards the matter closed.”

The ECB review was overseen by the board directors Barry O’Brien, Katie Bickerstaffe and Martin Darlow, the first of whom had sat on the original nominations committee chaired by Lucy Pearson and overseen, from a county perspective, by the late David Hodgkiss, the former Lancashire chairman who passed away in March after contracting Covid-19.

Contributor

Ali Martin

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Ian Watmore leaves role as ECB chair after only a year at the helm
Ian Watmore has cited the toll taken by the demands of the Covid pandemic for his departure as England and Wales Cricket Board chair

Ali Martin

07, Oct, 2021 @12:25 PM

Article image
Former FA chief executive Ian Watmore to become ECB chairman
Ian Watmore will succeed Colin Graves as chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board in November

Ali Martin

27, Feb, 2020 @8:03 PM

Article image
New chairman Watmore admits lack of ECB board diversity is unacceptable
The 11-member board of directors of the England and Wales Cricket Board is all-white and Watmore said: ‘That’s not acceptable going forward in the long run’

Ali Martin

01, Sep, 2020 @4:51 PM

Article image
England accused of poaching after rule change boosts Jofra Archer prospects
Jofra Archer, a highly rated Sussex fast bowler, will be available to play for England in next year’s World Cup and Ashes campaigns after the ECB changed its rules

Exclusive by Ali Martin

29, Nov, 2018 @8:01 PM

Article image
FA, RFU and ECB risk cuts after Women in Sport reveals lack of boardroom diversity
Women in Sport says the FA, RFU and ECB do not employ enough women in senior positions and may lose government funding

Andy Bull

08, Mar, 2017 @12:01 AM

Article image
ECB introduces Rooney Rule as part of drive to increase Asian involvement
The ECB has introduced the Rooney Rule for all national coaching positions to guarantee that at least one black, Asian or minority ethnic candidate is interviewed during the recruitment stage

Ali Martin

09, May, 2018 @11:01 PM

Article image
Cricket's All Stars scheme is fine but kids must see the game as well as play it | Andy Bull
The ECB’s All Stars scheme to encourage the very young to play is laudable but cricket suffers by being hidden from view

Andy Bull

22, Mar, 2017 @11:30 AM

Article image
ECB chief: mystery new competition at heart of plans to boost cricket’s profile
A new format dominates the ECB’s five-year blueprint for attracting more fans to cricket, with Tom Harrison saying the competition is ‘for a broader audience’

Andy Bull

14, Jan, 2019 @8:03 PM

Article image
Yorkshire CCC are institutionally racist. For me there is no other conclusion | Jonathan Liew
The investigation panel may not have found sufficient evidence of racism at the club, but how else can the Azeem Rafiq saga be viewed?

Jonathan Liew

01, Nov, 2021 @10:00 PM

Article image
Alex Hales pictured in blackface as English cricket handed a new blow
English cricket has taken another blow after the Azeem Rafiq revelations with Alex Hales pictured in blackface at a New Year’s Eve party

Sean Ingle

19, Nov, 2021 @12:18 AM