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The England and Wales Cricket Board

The United Kingdom has always been known for its love for sports and has shown great interest in various types of sports. The country has invested a huge amount in different types of sports. It has been mentioned in a report by HM Government (2015), there has been the presence of more than 70 major sports events since 2012 in London, as well as gave a great performance at the Winter and Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. Cricket is a genre of sports which is immediately identified as the most significant game and ideological hallmark of Britain’s huge empire, concerned with a certain kind of heaven of Englishness as well as the discourses of ‘fair play’ and ‘it’s not cricket.’(Westall, 2016).

The International Cricket Council or the ICC is the international governing body of cricket, which includes 105 members and it is responsible for the enactment of all ICC events. The various aspects, which ICC undertakes, are the ICC Code of Conduct, the playing conditions, the Decision Reviews, including the different ICC rules and regulations. This organisation assigns match officials for every match, internationally. It also looks into corruption and takes steps against match-fixing through its Anti-Corruption Unit. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) as a part of the ICC was established on January 1, 1997, which is considered as the only national governing body for cricket in England and Wales. It is headquartered at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London. This organisation was established to create one single unified structure that would be responsible for the development and management of cricket for every gender.

Further, in April 1998, the Women’s Cricket Association was also included in the organisation (ECB, 2020b). Thus, this paper aims to critically analyse the structure of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) as well as its regulating techniques. Further, this analysis will be done based on the UK’s Code of Conduct concerning sports regulation activities. For this purpose, the board members, the structure of the organization, as well as the structure adopted by the board members will be discussed in detail in this paper. In the end, certain recommendations will be provided based on the analysis of the organization and its adherence to the rules and regulations laid down by the UK Code for Sports Governance.

Current Board Structure (Composition and Functions)

The total number of members of the England and Wales Cricket Board includes 41 individuals. This includes the Charis of the 18 First-class countries, the Charis of the 21 Country boards in Non-First Class countries, the Chair of the MCC, and the Chair of the Minor Counties Cricket Association. The Board of Directors includes the Chairman, a Senior Independent Non-Executive Director, five Cricket Non-Executive Directors, three Independent Non-Executive Directors, the CEO, and the CFO.

There are daily responsibilities that are given to the ECB, such as the responsibility of the day-to-day running of the ECB tests are with the executive management team, who are accountable to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), where, every member enjoys a high position of functional authority. Additionally, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the ECB Board.

The executive team, led by the CEO, have the responsibility of taking care whether the ECB’s plans are delivered accurately and whether the other three committees within the ECB are maintaining their responsibility of working for the senior management team, concerning team, strategic issues, and planning as well as the Cricket Disciplinary Committee.

The Board administers the duties and responsibilities of the ECB, with Colin Graves as the Chairman, consisting of both Cricket Non-Executive Directors, who are experts in cricket as well as Independent Non-Executive Directors, who have the experience, are experts from different backgrounds, and can give their valuable feedback past the sport. Having Independent Directors in the Board acts as an advantage and is considered in various Member Board’s own national governance structures (ECB, 2020a). In different sports organisations, governance becomes an ongoing issue, which is predominant and increases due to the conversion of different types of sports. These sports emerge from the organisations, which is voluntarily managed and they go against the professional organisations, which accommodate a more sophisticated part of the sports industry (Ferkins, Shilbury, & McDonald, 2005). The strategic duties, roles, and performances of the members of the board can act as a weakness in various organisations.

Committee Structure

Chairman: Colin J Graves. He was appointed as the Chairman of the ECB in 2015, where, since 2013, he had functioned as the Deputy Chairman as well as the Executive Chairman of the Yorkshire CCC. He is the founder of the York-based Supermarket Chain named Costcutter and he founded this business in 1986. Today, his business has grown into a franchise of more than 1700 stores.

Before he was elected the Chairman of the ECB, he played club cricket for the Dunnington CC in the Yorkshire and District Premier League for approximately 30 years, and currently, he is the President of the club.

Chief Executive Officer: Tom Harrison. He joined the ECB as the CEO in 2015 and holds a great passion for cricket. He has over 20 years of experience in the sports business sector. Before ECB, he was the Senior Vice President at IMG, a sports marketing giant. Here he undertook the company’s media business in the United Kingdom. He has also worked with the Asian broadcaster ESPN STAR Sports (ESS), which also includes the Olympic Games. Apart from sports, he is connected to the Board of Patrons for the National Citizens Service (NCS), which is a national social development program that helps to create strong communities for young individuals.

Senior Independent Non-Executive Director: Professor The Lord (Kamlesh) Patel of Bradford OBE. He was appointed as the ECB’s Senior Independent Director in 2015. Lord Patel has achieved many ministerial roles in the House of Lords, which includes the Government’s Whips Office. Currently, he is the Chairman of Patron for over 30 not-for-profit organisations, which includes the Chair of Social Work England.

Independent Non-Executive Director: Delia Bushell. She was designated to the ECB’s Board in 2018 and has more than 20 experience in media, telecom, and sports. In July 2019, she was nominated as the Group CEO of the Jockey Club, which is considered as the biggest commercial group in British horseracing. Further, she is also a Non-Executive member on the Board of Commonwealth Games, England as well as on the Advisory Board of the Telegraph Media Group.

Independent Non-Executive Director: Brenda Trenowden CBE. She was appointed to the ECB Board in 2018. A Global-chair of the 30% club – an organisation that believes increased representation of females in the senior leadership roles, Brenda Trenowden is also a partner at the PwC UK relating to the people consulting practice.

Cricket Non-Executive Director: Lucy Pearson. She joined the Board in 2016, July. She comes from an educational background where she was the headteacher at the Cheadle Hulme School. In August 2018, she resigned from her position of a headteacher at the Cheadle Hulme School and was selected as the FA’s Head of Education.

Non-Executive Director: Jim Wood. After the changes in the governance reforms in the ECB, Jim Woods was appointed as the Non-Executive Director in 2018. He hails from a social background, where he undertook a youth offending team and continued working as a significant member of Davon’s Safeguarding Children’s Board. Concerning the ECB Board, Jim Wood undertakes the Recreational Assembly, and according to his professional background, provides his advice concerning the safety, which involves the safeguarding of the sub-committee also.

Cricket Non-Executive Director: Martin Darlow. Elected to the Board in 2012, Martin Darlow has worked as the Chief Executive of Bedfordshire Cricket, following Cricket East. He served for 32 years inspecting major and grave crimes. He further served as the commanding officer for Luton and then Bedfordshire. He continues to play cricket, even today, and is the Chairman of Southhill Park Cricket Club.

Cricket Non-Executive Director: Barry O’Brien. He is considered as one of the best corporate lawyers in the UK, and currently, he holds the position as a Chairman of the European M&A at Jefferies, which is an investment bank. Before being appointed to the ECB, he was selected as the honorary fellow at the University College London, in 2014. He is also the Governor at Rugby School, Director at the Lock Lomond Golf Club, and till lately, he was the Chair of Governors for Haggerston Community School in Hackney.

Cricket Non-Executive Director: Alan Dickinson. Having worked as the Chief Executive at the RBS UK, he has experience of over 40 years in higher roles including retail and corporate banking. He is also the Chairman of the ECB’s Audit and Risk Committee and has been working as the same since 2012.

ECB Chief Financial Officer: Scott Smith. As the Chief Financial Officer, he is accountable for business planning as well as the financial reporting of the ECB. He provides the establishment with budget-friendly, measured disbursement, and deliver income purposes. He further leads the corporate facilities, which include the Legal and Integrity reforms, Information Technology, and Procurement, together with the financial team.

Independent Non-Executive Director: Katie Bickerstaffe. She joined the ECB Board in September 2019 and has all-encompassing experience in handling and renovating companies. Currently, she is also the Executive Chair of the SSE Energy Services, which is a part of the SSE Pic, as well as the Non-Executive Director for Marks and Spenser Pic. Before joining the ECB, she was the Chief Executive of Dixons Carphone Pic and has worked with PepsiCo, Dyson, and Unilever. She has a keen interest in Cricket and taking it forward, especially in the women’s and girl’s games.

UK Code of Sports Governance

Specific code or rules and regulations are an important aspect for any organisation to be able to run smoothly. When organisations require specific funding for any sports-related activity, they are required to follow the values of authority to be the most progressive organisation in the world. In the UK Code of Sports Governance, different sets of codes of conduct bring new levels of pellucidity, responsibility as well as fiscal steadiness in any organisation, which will be required of them to follow, when they necessitate subsidy from the Government and Lottery Funding from April 2017 (UK Sport, 2015). 

The UK Code of Sports Governance has three tiers, which every establishment must follow when they seek funding from Sport England or UK Sport, irrespective of their size or sector, which include government institutions of sports, charities, clubs as well as local authorities. There are various sets of the standard set by the Code, which is balanced, and requests the organisations to maintain a high standard of good governance, which also involves:

  1. Constitutional arrangements, which allow the Board to have the prime decision-making ability.
  2. An increased amount of decision-making ability and diversity in the same, having a goal of at least 30 percent gender variety on the board.
  3. A higher amount of clearness for releasing more data on the new approaches, arrangement, as well as the monetary position of the associations (UK Sport, 2015).

Organisations, which seek funding from any organisation, that is, UK Sport or Sport England, especially national governing bodies, are equally evaluated, providing a rationalised procedure to portray how they must meet the standard of the Code. As said by the Sports Minister, Tracey Crouch MP, the code is not an obstacle for establishments to seek public funding, but it is a clear guide for organisations to change the necessities of the code to preserve the extraordinary principles in the sports industry. 

Critical Analysis of The England and Wales Cricket Board

As mentioned earlier, there are three tiers of the UK Code of Sports Governance. Tier 1 of the Code specifically mentions the representation of a minimum amount of required governance in the Code, and it is further concerned with the organisations seeking funding from UK Sport or Sport England, to meet the basic requirement at the minimum. Further, the requirements of Tier 1 is to ensure the protection of the public funding while meeting the standards, through a correct method of governance, while evading the formation of an inconsistent executive liability. Concerning Tier 1, the ECB is fully functional and maintains all the requirements as mentioned by the Code, while upholding the proper standards of governance. The Board of Directors of the ECB, led by the Chairman, maintain their dignity and have created certain plans following the new Code released in October 2017. The ECB has committed to condense the size of its Board and will make certain that its nomination process of the Board members is acquiescent with the rules and regulations laid down by the Code of Sports Governance (Sport England, 2017).

However, there is a consistent problem of corresponding mass participation and the elite sport development in the present sports system. The study of the influential structure of the governance of the sport of the United Kingdom can be said to be one of the most significant and properly working models of maintaining a balance between the mass and elite sports areas. It can be considered that physical activity and sports involve different types of social groups and they determine the significance of the creation of an effective model for the maintenance of balance between mass participation and elite sports. In many types of research related to sport sciences, it has been found that the most important role is allotted to the problems of the elite sport system development as well as the talent pathway system, whereas the issues related to the mass sport participation are completely avoided or ignored. Further, the sport-financing model in the UK is based on indirect financing, through national agencies, namely UK Sport and Sport England, who, in turn, earn their revenue through the National Lottery.

According to the Code of Sports Governance, the election of the Chairperson, and the other Non-Executive Directors of the Board must be done through an open and freely presented enrolment procedure, and the British governing bodies have to provide open access to the public related to the financial reports, timings of the Board meetings, publish information regarding the income of the Board members and all employees, which will provide the public with transparency on the working of the organisations (Dolmatova, 2019). Thus, it can be stated, the UK Code for Sports Governance, which has been implemented in the Sports sector in the country, leads to the progression of the public towards achieving the governance and necessities of the Code of the British Sport’s sector and is said to be one of the finest in the world.

Tier 2 of the Code states the investments to be made in the organisations and here, the organisations are required to meet all the necessities of Tier 1, once they receive their investments as mentioned in Tier 2. Investments are also made to create strategic relationships between the two organisations, namely Sport England and UK Sport and other establishments, but on the basis where the limitations of the association are still being generated. When a new strategy is generated, the results which are expected by the public from the government institutions are that the investments made, are transparent and clear and are commonly shared. The ECB has always been open with the strategies it adopted to maintain the standard of governance of the Code set up. When public money is invested in Sports or any other kind of activity, it will lead to the generation of common evaluation and judgment.

For the success of any strategy, it is important to remember that the funding decisions which are taken and are concerned with sports must be taken, keeping in mind the customer needs and requirements. In a sport like cricket, investment depends on the participation, which falls when the weather changes and the future funding depends less on the weather, but more on the sport which helps bring consistency and advances the standard of school sports (HM Government, 2015). The ECB is currently facing the issues of huge loss due to the coronavirus pandemic, but due to the investments made in the organisation, it has been able to create a 61 million pound rescue package and the Board has also been on the front position in providing grants and loans to people who have faced huge losses due to the pandemic (The Statesman, 2020)

Tier 3 characterises the level of compulsory governance requirements to be met by the organisations mentioned in the Code. This tier ensures the maintenance of the high standards sue to the substantial investments being made. UK Sport and Sport England only invest in an organisation if they follow their three requirements, namely:

  1. If the investment required is to be given for a period of years.
  2. The investment required is for a continued period and not a one-time investment.
  3. If the investment is more than 1 million Euros.

In the paper by Velija, Ratna, and Flintoff (2012), the impact of the merger between the ECB and the Women’s Cricket Association has been depicted. This paper shows the relevance of women’s roles in the governance in their respective fields of sports concerning the views of 10 women, who were involved in sports, playing, administering, coaching, or managing cricket. The results of their views portray that since the merger between the two organisations, their sports have benefitted due to amplified economic sustenance, which helps enhance the elite expansion of the game (Velija, Ratna, & Flintoff, 2012).

Recommendations for the ECB

The recommendations for ECB have been mentioned below:

  1. The ECB needs to include proper values, standards, and ethics into its streamline to protect its public investment and improve its reputation as well as earn the trust of the stakeholders.
  2. It should constantly seek to improve as it makes an organisation able, to undertake various challenges and opportunities regularly.
  3. It should have a varied, expert, and knowledgeable decision-making body, who can engage in debates, which are constructive and can take decisions, even at the toughest times.
  4. As the Board of Directors is answerable to the stakeholders, it is important to understand their interests and meeting their demands, help maintain the structure and governance of the organisation.
  5. Transparency must be maintained with the public about the workings of the organisation, its vision, mission, and the results which it aims to achieve.
  6. Risks can be allayed and stakeholder trust can be increased if, the legal environment is positive and there is proper financial and other controls available.

Conclusion on The England and Wales Cricket Board

Thus, it can be said that the ECB, although has been successful in the way it works, certain areas require improvement. Every organisation has its faults and flaws, but how they tackle them attracts the public. This paper aimed to provide critical analysis of the England and Wales Cricket Board and its structure, internal governance mechanisms, and provide recommendations for reforming its governance structures. This paper has provided a brief critical analysis of the ECB and its three tiers, which according to the sports industry is being maintained by the organisation. However, there are certain issues in the industry, which need to be looked into. Therefore, it can be stated, the ECB has certain policies and governance structure which is strictly followed by its Board members, but they require a few changes.

References for The England and Wales Cricket Board

Dolmatova, T. (2019). The institutional framework for mass participation and elite sport development: The case of the United Kingdom, International Journal of Applied Exercise Physiology, 8(3), 2322-3537. Retrieved from http://ijaep.com/Journal/537-Article%20File-1908-1-2-20190612.pdf

ECB. (2020a). ECB Corporate Governance. Retrieved from https://www.ecb.co.uk/governance/corporate-governance

ECB. (2020b). About the England and Wales Cricket Board. Retrieved from https://www.ecb.co.uk/about-us/about-the-ecb

Ferkins, L., Shilbury, D., & McDonald, G. (2005). The role of the board in building strategic capability: Towards an integrated model of sports governance research, Sport Management Review, 8(3), 195-225. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1441352305700395

HM Government. (2015). Sporting Future: A new strategy for an Active Nation. Retrieved from https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/486622/Sporting_Future_ACCESSIBLE.pdf

HM Government. (2015). Sporting Future: A new strategy for an Active Nation. Retrieved from https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/486622/Sporting_Future_ACCESSIBLE.pdf

Sport England. (2017). Governance Code Response Praised. Retrieved from https://www.wired-gov.net/wg/news.nsf/articles/Governance+Code+response+praised+28072017131500?open

The Statesman. (2020). England and Wales cricket board may lose £380 due to COVID-19 Pandemic. Retrieved from https://www.thestatesman.com/sports/england-and-wales-cricket-board-may-lose-380-million-pound-due-to-covid-19-pandemic-1502884552.html

UK Sport. (2015). A Code for Sports Governance. Retrieved from https://www.uksport.gov.uk/resources/governance-code

Velija, P., Ratna, A., & Flintoff, A. (2012). Exclusionary power in sports organisations: The merger between the Women’s Cricket Association and the England and Wales Cricket Board, International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 49(2). Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1012690212455962

Westall, C. (2016). Introduction: The Worldliness of cricket and its literature. Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 52(3), 245-248. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17449855.2016.1203099

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