YORKSHIRE’s members have effectively been given an ultimatum to support proposed changes to the club’s board or else risk the ongoing loss of international cricket at Headingley.
The Yorkshire Post was denied access to a members’ forum at Headingley in which new chairman Lord Kamlesh Patel and England and Wales Cricket Board officials were said to have spelled out the situation in no uncertain terms.
Patel, who will today update the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee on Yorkshire’s efforts to combat racism, wants members to back plans to allow non-members to join the club’s board (up to eight out of 12) and for the ECB to have a seat on the club’s nominations committee, which recommends board members.
The idea is to broaden the board’s diversity and skills-set as Yorkshire look to take visible steps in a new direction, while two members would also be appointed and the membership given ultimate veto over any board nomination.
However, the plans have met with opposition from key figures including former Yorkshire chairman Robin Smith, who believe that they would relinquish control of the club’s assets to “strangers” and end Yorkshire’s tradition as a members’ club.
The proposals will be the subject of an EGM at Headingley on February 2, with an ECB decision on whether this year’s Headingley internationals can go ahead expected around the same date, with Yorkshire initially slated to stage a Test match against New Zealand in June and a one-day international against South Africa in July.
Sources have told The Yorkshire Post that there was broad support at the members’ forum for Patel’s plans to take the club forward but lingering dissatisfaction at his decision to sack 14 people for signing a letter in protest at Yorkshire’s handling of the crisis.
There were concerns that “natural justice” had not been done and although members are generally accepting that some departures were inevitable, the extent of the cull has left a sour taste for many. Those dismissed included people who were not even at the club at the time the alleged incidents occurred.