Chief executive Johnny Grave has defended Cricket West Indies’ treatment of territorial boards, contending the governing body had been “equitable” in its allocation of international fixtures and financial resources.
Noting CWI were ever cognisant about accusations of partiality towards certain territories, Grave said it was the board’s stated philosophy by way of policy, to ensure insularity was removed from the regional game.
“It’s a philosophy that we try to have, that’s why we took the view, certainly pre-COVID, to ensure that every international ground or every territory that had international cricket would have at least had a Test match or two white ball games, and we would spread our cricket around the region trying to take any accusation of politics out of how we play cricket,” the Englishman explained.
“I think we, certainly on an equitable basis, fund all the franchises and fund all the territorial boards so there’s no favour shown or discrepancies between how we now allocate cricket or fund the territorial boards so I think in that respect, I think we’re doing as much as we can do.”.
Grave gave the assurance after the Barbados Cricket Association and the Guyana Cricket Board snubbed the recently scheduled Annual General Meeting, resulting in a lack of a quorum and forcing a postponement until April 11.
Both boards subsequently indicated their discomfort with receiving audited financial statements 48 hours prior to the AGM.
The other four shareholder boards – the Jamaica Cricket Association, the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board, the Leeward Islands Cricket Board and the Windward Islands Cricket Board – had been present for the virtual meeting.
Not for the first time, the controversy thrust the political divisions in West Indies cricket into the headlines and sparked heated discussion over the relationship between CWI and territorial boards.
Grave said it was vitally important that fans, shareholders and stakeholders across the region understood that CWI always acted in the best interest of the game, and never in an unfavourable way towards any member.
“Clearly there will always be fans or people within certain territories that think that their player should be picked over another player and that’s part of the excitement of cricket and the debate of cricket and the narrative of any sport,” he pointed out.
“We want that debate and we welcome that debate but certainly the philosophy here is to share cricket out equally and equitably and fund all boards in a similar fashion.
“Very limited amount of our funding is performance related, so related to maybe the IPL-release fees if you’re a territory that’s producing more cricketers, maybe through West Indies production fees if you’re producing more players to the West Indies team, there might be a small amount of additional funding but in the main it’s very equitable funding.”
Grave said in order for West Indies cricket to succeed, there needed to be productive synergy between CWI and all territorial boards.
“What you want is the game to be led by your governing body in the highest possible standards,” he stressed.
“You want funding to flow. Ultimately in the eyes of your members and in a sense your own shareholders, it’s about [CWI and the territorial boards] winning.”