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EDINBURGH CRICKET CLUB PRESS RELEASE

EDINBURGH CRICKET CLUB PRESS RELEASE

By Syed Hassan
13 June 2011
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EDINBURGH CRCKET CLUB PRESS RELEASE – 13th JUNE 2011 This is the latest report in regards to the position of the Edinburgh Cricket Club. It is believed to be in the public interest to distribute the latest circumstances regarding the situation of the Club. However, as proceedings are still live it would be inappropriate to comment on the substantive details of any future pending appeal or any substantive details relating to future legal action. The Edinburgh Cricket Club (ECC) was subject to three main complaints from the East of Scotland Cricket Association (ESCA). The main complaint was that of the ECC not paying their accounts timeously to certain organisations. ESCA were informed by the 22nd February 2011 that all debts were paid and as a result the E.C.C was no longer apparently insolvent. On the 3rd March 2011 the General Committee of ESCA had a meeting with a representative of the E.C.C in regards to the clubs position. This meeting was in actual fact intended to be a disciplinary meeting but this was not intimated to the E.C.C and no formal charge was laid down either. At the meeting on the 3rd March 2011, the ESCA General Committee expressed their concern over the potential of our first team players performing for the E.C.C second team and they stipulated to the E.C.C that they were suspending the teams to ensure that this does not occur. However, the E.C.C proposed and mutually constituted an agreement whereby a situation of such does not occur. No other charges were put before the E.C.C at that point. Despite this, the General Committee from that meeting decided to propose a motion to suspend the E.C.C to all member clubs at an EGM on the 5th April 2011, which was in direct contravention of the ESCA constitution. At the EGM the E.C.C were excluded from being in attendance during the voting to suspend. More importantly the E.C.C was excluded from part of a discussion relating to the motion, which means that they were potentially deprived of the opportunity to respond to the allegations in full. The way in which the EGM was conducted on the 5th April breached the basic principles of natural justice and by excluding the E.C.C at that point was a fundamental failing. An appeal was lodged and heard by the SCU on the 22nd April 2011. An independent and fully competent panel recognised the failings from the meeting on the 3rd March 2011 where it was recognised that no intimation of a formal disciplinary hearing took place and that no formal charge was laid on the E.C.C. They also recognised the failings from the EGM on the 5th April 2011 and the wrongful decision of ESCA to put the motion to the EGM which was unconstitutional. As a result of ESCA’s flawed procedure to suspend the E.C.C, the suspension was unanimously quashed by the members of the panel. There was no substantive mention regarding the SCU appeal on the ESCA website, as there has been previously when discussions regarding motions and suspensions have taken place regarding the E.C.C. The only post on the website regarding the successful appeal was that ESCA would support any team that refuses to play the E.C.C following the SCU appeal in making those matches void (1st May 2011)- this in itself is dubious, controversial and contentious to say the least after a successful and valid appeal quashed the suspension. On the 12th May 2011 a disciplinary hearing was held where ESCA used a valid procedure to suspend the club unlike their previous failings. The three charges were upheld by the ESCA disciplinary sub-committee. The disposal by ESCA this time around is in reality more severe than their original motion to suspend the E.C.C at the EGM in April which would have suspended the E.C.C for a season and then reinstated them in the same league without demotion. However, the decision from the 12th May 2011 provides that (a) E.C.C be suspended from all ESCA competitions for the first half of the 2011 season with all matches for both E.C.C teams during this time to deemed forfeited with a resultant 20-0 points in favour of the opposition (the practical reality is relegation) (b) A further deduction of 200 points suspended for two years subject to satisfactory conduct of players, members and club officials and delivery of audited accounts for 2011 and 2012 As a result of the most recent disposal by the ESCA on the 12th May 2011, relegation is a “dead-certainty” and demotion to a lower league will therefore occur. This is therefore a more severe sanction than the originally proposed motion at the failed EGM on the 5th April 2011. ESCA at its EGM on the 5th April 2011 proposed to suspend the E.C.C for the whole season. This has been reduced to half a season by the sub-disciplinary committee. However, the practical reality is still the same as the majority of the current players have left the club and the players who have not yet registered at different clubs for the season have made different plans for the summer. As a result of this, the E.C.C is with faced with an uphill challenge in raising two competitive teams for the second half of the 2011 season. The practical reality therefore being that the E.C.C may potentially be deprived of cricket for a full season. ESCA have stated that they would assist the E.C.C in overcoming the problems it faced (and now faces) and help the club move on. However, imposing ludicrous, unreasonable, disproportionate and excessive sanctions without thinking of its practical effects has potentially jeopardised the future of the club and the community which relies upon it. How, ESCA believe by imposing such sanctions due to mismanagement failures and non payment of debts (which have been fully paid and settled since February 2011) is assisting the E.C.C to move on is beyond belief. Unfortunately, the current economic climate is harsh and the E.C.C is not the only sporting club in Scotland to face economic uncertainties. However, sporting clubs and the public expect assistance and confidence in those governing associations to ensure that correct decisions are taken to stabilise those clubs who find themselves in economic difficulties, in order to benefit the sport and not to set unreasonable precedents with the potential to inhibit the promotion of sport in Scotland. The E.C.C has been an integral part of the community for the past 30 years; it has integrated people from all different ethnic backgrounds and developed exciting youth talent who have represented the club at national level. The heavy sanctions used by ESCA have been extremely detrimental to the future of the club. However, it is the players, their families and their children along with the community who have become the real victims from the sanctions imposed. ESCA have recently stated in writing on the 14th May 2011 (attached with their most recent decision of suspension) that the E.C.C made themselves unpopular with other clubs by appealing ESCA’s initial decision to the SCU. They also stated that the E.C.C finished bottom of the fair play tables last season which shows their unpopularity with other clubs and that by appealing their most recent decision to suspend the club will not help this. The right to appeal is a fundamental right within our legal system and whether a club is popular or not is undoubtedly irrelevant to such right. The initial appeal to the SCU was successful and highlighted the procedural faults of ESCA in suspending the E.C.C the first time around, therefore it is completely inappropriate to make such remarks. This is not a popularity contest but a matter of bringing validity, fairness and justice to the forefront. With all debts paid well in advance of the new season, grounds available for the new season, a fair sanction already placed on the E.C.C from the SCU and pre season security in regards to players, the decisions from ESCA have been more detrimental to the E.C.C. The E.C.C will not accept a decision which can be reasonably concluded as being unjust and inappropriate to the circumstances in this case. The E.C.C will continue to maintain their intention to challenge the sanctions placed by ESCA and lodged an appeal on the 26th May 2011 to the ESCA Appeals Committee. The E.C.C will not stop pursuing their intention of challenging the unreasonable sanctions until a satisfactory and just outcome has been reached. As proceedings are live and a future appeal pending, it would be inappropriate to comment further on any substantive details of the appeal.
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