Danny Rogers: A wake-up call from a not so gallant knight

The Allen Stanford fiasco throws egg on many faces throughout the British establishment.

For cricket it is just the latest in a series of recent PR disasters, coming weeks after the farcical dismissal of both the national team captain and its coach.

How stupid does the England and Wales Cricket Board now look? It had thrown itself enthusiastically into business – despite many high profile warnings – with a man now charged with fraud ‘of shocking magnitude’ by US investigators.

The warning signs were always flashing brightly for anyone with a modicum of common sense. Despite cricket’s valuable reputation for tradition, fair play and understatement, last year’s launch of the Stanford Series saw possibly the tackiest TV sports photocall of all time.

Did the warning bells not ring in the heads of ECB chairman Giles Clarke or chief executive David Collier as they stood alongside a grinning Mr Stanford and his box of millions of dollars? God knows what cricket legend Sir Viv Richards, also present, was thinking. Maybe he too was temporarily blinded by the glare of filthy lucre.

Beyond cricket, we should remember we are talking about Sir Allen Stanford here. A man supposedly knighted for his contribution to the world. Coming off the back of the RBS scandal, under the watch of Sir Fred Goodwin, what does this say about the type of individuals honoured by our realm? Are we a country that rewards contribution to public life, or simply people who have amassed vast riches?

Those who manage the reputation of English and Welsh cricket now have an uphill task to reassure cricket fans they are running the game with a sense of professionalism and integrity – and they must do so before this summer’s great showcase for the sport, the Ashes.

The rest of the British establishment needs to heed the warning that ‘the times they are a-changin’’. Those who have built huge wealth based on questionable contribution now face unprecedented public scrutiny.

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