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BCB boss welcomes inquiry into sport

Allen Richardson would welcome a public inquiry into how Bermuda Cricket Board spent taxpayer money, and believes the outcome will show why a high level of funding should continue.

In fact, the BCB’s first vice president said he was ‘very, very confident’ that the reduction in the sport’s budget to $200,000 was ‘a one-off incident’.

Glenn Blakeney, the Minister of Sport, is preparing to launch an inquiry into both cricket and football, the two national sports that have received large sums of public money of the past four years.

While Mr Blakeney has said he doesn’t believe officials from either sport have anything to hide, BCB chief executive Neil Speight and Bermuda Football Association president Larry Mussenden have so far refused to comment on the inquiry. Richardson’s remarks are the first indication of what executives from either sport might be thinking.

“My personal opinion on the inquiry, I welcome it,” said Richardson, “simply because, as has already been stated by the Minister (Blakeney), the reporting process on the way in which the money was spent was first class. I have no problem with there being an inquiry

“I think it will be a good opportunity to show exactly what we have done. I think then Government would see that they were wrong to cut us off as much as they did because we are doing a lot of good in different places.”

Richardson also defended the BCB’s record in investing in the Island’s infrastructure and said clubs were largely responsible for the upgrading at grounds going to waste. He backed the view of Derek Broadley, the BFA’s former technical director, who blamed a lack of management structure at the clubs for a lot of equipment ‘going missing’.

“I think this will be a good opportunity to show what we have done and the amount of money that we have poured in,” said Richardson. “I think Broadley had a very good point in the paper when he talked about the equipment that they have given to clubs, but if you go there now some of this equipment is shabby.

“You will see that we’ve spent a lot of money on infrastructure and some of these grounds where we have laid practice wickets, if you go and look at it now, clubs have allowed the place to just detiriorate.”

The BCB’s first vice president said he was puzzled as to why the Board had their funding slashed to $200,000 in Januray and warned of the consequences for the sport if the ‘peanuts’ they had been handed this year was continued.

Worst case scenarios in that event includes the loss of head coach David Moore or Speight and cuts in funding for youth cricket.

“I really don’t know the rationale behind the cut,” said Richardson. “I understand (there had to be) cuts, yes, that’s not a problem, but to give you peanuts, I don’t understand that. You would need to speak the premier and the financial wizards as to why it was cut to that amount. I couldn’t say.”

Richardson did acknowledge the need for change within the Board, and said this year’s sharp drop in funds had highlighted the need to ‘tweak the organisation’. “It’s made us more aware of how we need to re-tweak our organisation,” he said, “because obviously some hard decisions would have to be made if funds are not available.”

The millions of dollars pumped into football and cricket has not been a universally popular decision in Bermuda, and with the current issues blighting cricket - bad behaviour, poor results, questionable administration - there are those that have asked if Bermuda truly deserve their status as an Associate nation.

“We have eight divisions of cricket at the ICC level, we are in the third division, so there are 105 countries playing cricket that are ranked, yes, we’re not in the top 15, we’re ranked 21,” said Richardson.

“I don’t think we’ve reached the stage of pressing panic buttons. We have shown that we can be there (near the top) and like I said I really feel that we are just going through a transition. We’re going through a transition with our team, I think we are going through a transition with how we look at our disciplinary procedures, going through a transition in how we want to restructure our league, we’re going through a transition of heads of state in management.

“We’re going through a transitional phase and that’s why I think as a Board we have to keep our heads on our shoulders, despite all hell breaking around us, we still have to maintain some sense of stability on where we think we should go.”

Allen Richardson

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Published September 12, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated September 12, 2011 at 9:18 am)

BCB boss welcomes inquiry into sport

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