UAE Cricket Saga

There are two major newspapers in the UAE - Gulf News and Khaleej Times. It is quite interesting to see the slant/bias/prejudices in these two reports on the issue of cricket in UAE.

ICC finds no anomaly in UAE board's accounts

By K.R. Nayar, Staff Reporter
Published: 05/26/2006 12:00 AM (UAE)

Dubai: The International Cricket Council (ICC) stated yesterday that the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) has used the funds allocated to them in a proper manner.

Speaking to Gulf News, Jon Long, Manager - Member Services and Corporate Affairs of the ICC, said: "We have provided the ECB with funds through the Asian Cricket Council. We have gone through their statement of accounts and we have not found any anomalies."

"In 2004-05, the total value of support provided to ECB by the ICC and the ACC is $482,000. This includes tournament participation costs, course attendance costs, other development support costs as well as direct financial support," he said.

"The ICC Development programme was launched in 1997 and it has been providing support to all ICC associate and affiliate members since this time," he revealed. "The ECB accounts have been audited to the highest international financial standards.

"In fact, every nation whom we have funded has to regularly present their statements to continue as member of the ICC," said Long.

Speaking about the extent of the ICC's responsibility with regard to the local cricket of a board, Long said: "Even when the ICC was based in London, we never interfered in the internal affairs of the England Cricket Board.

"We don't suggest that the Old Trafford ground should look like the Lord's ground. This is not our job."

Long also revealed that all regulatory bodies do not have the authority to interfere in any internal activity.

"The Fifa cannot interfere with Switzerland and tell them that the Zurich stadium has to be renovated. It is not their duty," he said.

ECB’s officials ducking for cover amid harsh criticism

By A Staff Reporter (With inputs from Hisham El Gizouli and Liaqat Ali)
26 May 2006

DUBAI — Once upon a time, like all fairytales begin, it was all so hunky dory for cricket in the UAE. Everyone had a good time; good cricket was played and good money was made.

Now with bouncers being flung left, right and centre, cricket board officials and their friends are ducking for cover. Calls go unanswered and cell phones are not being picked up.

Adding to the confusion, various dates are being flung around for the next meeting of the Emirates Cricket Board, the governing body of the game in the country.

Abdul Razzaq Kazim, ECB's chief selector, says the meeting will be held on June 6. One English language daily printed June 3 as the D-Day. Mazhar Khan, ECB administrator, yesterday said a Press conference will be held on June 4.

Then there's this shadow of dark cloud about finances. The International Cricket Council has gone on record saying that the ECB were handed $482,000 (Dh1.76 million) via the Asian Cricket Council.

Where did all that money go?

B. R. Shetty, president of the Abu Dhabi Cricket Council from 2003 until early this week, said ADCC never received any help financial or otherwise from the Emirates Cricket Board during his tenure in office.

“The sport in Abu Dhabi has been running by its own resources and from the support of the sponsors for local cricket. We never received any financial help from the ECB during my tenure as president,” he said.

Of course Shetty was modest enough not to say that he had dug into his deep pockets to keep cricket alive in the capital. The Abu Dhabi Cricket Council was founded in 1989 with Saeed Atiq Salem as chairman and Omar Yusuf as president. Shetty was elected vice-president at the time and took over as president in 2003.

Although Mazhar Khan, who is also the secretary of the Sharjah Cricket Council, refused to pick up his cell phone on Wednesday, he answered calls yesterday. Khaleej

Times approached him yesterday with the hope that he may be able to clarify a few things regarding money and the financial situation of the board.

Mazhar refused to divulge any information regarding the finances. All he said was: “ECB officials are planning to hold a Press conference on June 4 and any enquiry regarding any matter related cricket will be answered then and there only.

Mazhar then added: “If you want to know anything now, you can contact the ECB president.” Khaleej Times did try to get Abdul Rahman Bukhatir, the board president, on the blower. But like the past few days, his phone went unanswered.

This newspaper tried to contact a number of officials from Sharjah Cricket Council. Although they answered the phone calls none of them were willing to stick their neck out and say anything on money matters, specially about the financial help they have received or are receiving from the ECB.

As Abdul Razzaq Kazim rightly pointed out on Wednesday, financial as well as administrative transparency is a must when the public is involved. Kazim also came down heavily on the way the sponsorship of the national team and apparel have taken place.

According to Kazim, sponsorship of the national team should be kept open and tenders should be floated to rope in the highest bidder and it should not be based on individual interests of the people on the board.

It's no wonder ECB officials are running for cover with so much of fertilisers being flung all around.

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