ECB to look into alleged wrongdoings against Ian Watmore

Women's CricZone Staff
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ECB to look into alleged wrongdoings against Ian Watmore

Ian Watmore. ©

According to a report in Daily Mail, Watmore was involved in a breakaway league which jeopardised a whopping amount of £595 million broadcast deal with Sky Sports. Sensing a problem might arise, Watmore left his role with EFL citing ill health, after which the club announced an independent inquiry.

Sky are currently the broadcast partner for ECB and the money involved in the first year of a new five-year deal is worth £1.1 billion until 2024. While Watmore has not yet been officially ratified as chairman - meant to be done at the AGM on May 13 - a lot of people have already aired their concern about his appointment.

Before leaving the job with EFL, Watmore previously worked with 2015 Rugby World Cup team and held a role at the English Institute of Sport. He was also pivotal in the launch of Women's Super League and the St George's Park project during his time at the FA. Watmore was appointed to take over from Colin Graves in February, 15 months after his departure from the EFL.

"Ian Watmore was appointed following a rigorous search and selection process, led by global executive search firm Odger Berndtson and a dedicated nominations committee chaired by ECB non-executive director Lucy Pearson," said an ECB spokesperson.

"The ECB board is aware of the claims made against Ian and will seek to review and understand the situation."

In a statement to Daily Mail, Watmore dismissed the allegations saying he had to resign his role with EFL because of his long-standing heart condition. He also further added that his discussions with Derby County owner Mel Morris centred around an ongoing impasse over a TV deal.

"I became chair of the EFL commercial committee in 2018 and inherited a difficult contract situation over the new TV deal, which had been developing over the previous year," he said.

"The League was split down the middle over the deal and I sought discussions with a leading representative to explore ways we could overcome this impasse. That meeting, and conversations within it, were shared with the board and executive colleagues at the time."

"In the event, all work to bring the deal to a successful outcome was delivered on, when it was signed after a unanimous vote by the EFL board on which I sat. My resignation from the EFL role was taken after medical advice in November 2018. Since then, I have willingly participated in reviews by the EFL into the overall rights sale process and my role within it."

"During my short period at the organisation I operated with honesty and integrity and until today I have not heard any reports from the EFL that their view is any different."