Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Women target place on ECB board after World Cup win in Sydney

England's triumphant women's cricket team will parade the World Cup at Lord's tomorrow morning amid the prospect of something more than mere global dominance: a female representative on the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Giles Clarke, the chairman of the ECB, has said the organisation wants to "increase the representation of women in the governance of the game" and has discussed the issue with the culture secretary, Andy Burnham. The former England captains Rachael Heyhoe-Flint and Clare Connor would be among the favourites to play a leading role at Lord's.
The sports minister, Gerry Sutcliffe, and Burnham will be among those applauding England's captain, Charlotte Edwards, and the players who defeated New Zealand to lift the trophy in Sydney at the weekend. Clarke will also be there as pressure grows for women – who were allowed to enter the famous red-brick pavilion at Lord's for the first time only 10 years ago – to become more involved in the game at an administrative level.
A spokesman for the department for culture, media and sport, said tonight: "Andy will be going straight from cabinet to Lord's. He had meetings with the England and Wales Cricket Board recently and is very keen that women should be involved not only with the playing side but also with the governance of the game."
Clarke and the ECB chief executive, David Collier, had a meeting with Burnham and Sutcliffe this month in which they outlined their plans for cricket for the next two years and the success of their Building Partnerships programme.
"The Government are one of cricket's key delivery partners," Clarke said. "This ranges from assisting us to stage successful major international events such as the ICC World Twenty20 2009 through to the investment Sport England make in our grass-roots programmes. It is therefore right that we have an ongoing dialogue with DCMS to share our vision of how we intend to take the sport forward.
"I advised them of the great progress the ECB has made in meeting the objectives set out in our five-year plan Building Partnerships. The investment by the ECB of 21% of our income in enthusing participation in grass-roots cricket sets a benchmark for all sports to aspire to.
"This includes growth of 49% in the number of women and girls playing cricket and our women's team retaining the Ashes in Australia. Gerry Sutcliffe has been an energetic champion and supporter of the progress made by women's cricket at all levels and I am delighted he accepted my invitation to open the women's part of the ICC World Twenty20 in Taunton on 11 June 2009.
"In the coming weeks we will engage closely with the DCMS on our plans for taking cricket forward including the framework of our new five-year plan. This will include the proposals the board agreed today to increase the representation of women in the governance of the game and careful examination of the fit and proper person arrangements we set for those who wish to invest in cricket or have ownership interests in our counties."
As well as Heyhoe-Flint and Connor, Baroness Scotland, the attorney general for England and Wales, would be another popular nomination for any senior post. However, in the short term at least, it is more likely that women will be used in a special advisory role or be co-opted on to certain sub-committees than sit on the full board.

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