Ian Watmore has stood down as chair of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) with immediate effect after just over a year in the role. Current ECB Deputy Chair, Barry O’Brien, will step up as interim Chair, but has indicated to the ECB board that he will not be a candidate for the role. Instead a process to find a successor will begin shortly. While initially popular with the counties, who welcomed his gentle style of management after years of more robust characters such Watmore stands down as ECB chairman as Giles Clarke and Colin Graves, Watmore appears to have lost their confidence in recent weeks. Several present at the meeting described it as “shambolic”.
He was a key figure in Manu Sawhney’s departure as the organisation’s CEO and gave crucial impetus in the push towards cricket embracing Olympic participation.
It may be relevant, however, that the ICC part of his role demanded far more time than he had originally anticipated. And, at a time when the ECB seemed to lurch from crisis to embarrassment with only brief moments of respite between, he found himself worn, jaded and exhausted. Even his critics acknowledge he was a decent, well-meaning man who inherited an incredibly tough situation.
It might also raise questions about the character required for the role. But subsequent events might suggest their unquenchable self-belief and determination are pre-requisites for the job.
“It is with regret that I step down as Chair of the ECB, but I do so in mindfulness of my own wellbeing and that of the game which I love,” Watmore said in a statement. Leaving now, at the end of the season, gives the Board time to find a new Chair to support cricket through the challenges of the 2022 season and beyond.
On a personal level, I also retired last month after five years at the Civil Service Commission and recently became a grandfather. I would now like to retire completely from work and enjoy our great game as a spectator.
Barca have lost both their Champions League group games 3-0, with Wednesday’s defeat at Benfica particularly damaging. They are unbeaten in La Liga but are sixth after three draws from six games. Martinez is what Laporta is looking for, said Balague.
He is someone who understands the club, who has an admiration for Johan Cruyff and his philosophy and he has adapted well wherever he has been. He plays the type of football – building from the back, playing through the thirds – that the president wants.
But there are other names in the frame too. Xavi is the one who seems to suit everyone’s interests best, said Balague. The fans like him, the media like him, he is ready to take over, there won’t be an issue with money and he knows the club.