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English cricket severs ties with Stanford

February 21, 2009 08:16 IST

English cricket severed its ties with Texas billionaire Allen Stanford on Friday following accusations he was involved in an $8 billion (5.5 billion pounds) fraud.

Stanford landed in a helicopter at cricket's Lord's headquarters last year to launch the Stanford Super Series which culminated last November in England playing a West Indies side in a $20 million winner-takes-all showdown in Antigua.

In a statement the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said it had terminated, with immediate effect, its contracts with the Stanford group following a meeting of the executive committee on Friday.

"ECB was shocked by the charges filed against the Stanford organisation and personnel earlier this week," ECB chief executive David Collier said.

"Within minutes of the announcement, ECB determined to suspend any further discussions with Stanford and the board has now agreed to terminate the ECB's agreements with Stanford."

The ECB said England would not take part in any more Stanford Twenty20 matches in Antigua while this year's Stanford-sponsored international quadrangular event, scheduled to begin at Lord's in May, would not now go ahead.

Collier added: "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, when setting the 2009 budgets the board took a prudent position in creating a contingency in case the Antigua matches did not proceed."


Stanford's influence on English cricket and the glitzy one-off match in Antigua has been criticised by many within the game while ECB chairman Giles Clarke has come in for media criticism over the relationship with the American.

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) also said this week it was suspending contractual negotiations with Stanford whose privately run, but officially endorsed, Twenty20 series in the islands has proved highly lucrative.

English first class counties have also cashed in on Stanford's fortune, with each receiving 50,000 pounds after last November's Stanford Super Series match in Antigua.

The ECB said on Friday revenue streams for the 18 counties and for grassroots cricket would not be affected by the decision to end its links with Stanford.

"The executive committee and ECB Board, during the budget process, had taken a prudent view to income from a number of sources," the ECB statement said.

"As a result, the termination of the Stanford agreements had no impact on the projected fee payments to counties nor the recreational assembly (grassroots cricket)."

Stanford and three of his companies were charged by the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday with "massive" fraud involving a multi-billion dollar investment scheme.

He has denied any wrongdoing.

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