Former West Indies cricket captain Richardson wants more democratic cricket authority

A sports legend opened up on the Caribbean cricket establishment hitting them for a lack of openness.

Former West Indies cricket captain, Richie Richardson believes Caribbean fans should have a greater say in how to reverse the “deep slide” in West Indies cricket.

Speaking ahead of Counterpart International’s Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism meeting (CMExPress), to be held in Antigua on Tuesday June 14, Richardson said “for too long the Board has operated like a closed shop,” although “cricket belongs to all of us”.

The former captain wants the Board to adopt a solid administrative structure and sophisticated approach to marketing, along the lines of American-administered sports, coupled with enfranchising the game’s supporters.

“When I was playing, we were retrogressing. Countries have moved on and we’re going backwards,” the Antiguan noted, as he called for greater emphasis on training and development.

“Cricket is everything to us (but) we have done nothing to look after our players,” he lamented, calling for a stipulation that players get professional experience before playing Test cricket.

Richardson, now the chief executive officer of the Antigua and Barbuda Sports Tourism Alliance (ABSTA), also called on the media to help overcome insularity and unite the region’s cricket fans around the West Indian team regardless of who makes the final Eleven.

At the CMExPress meeting in Antigua, media representatives will join the public and private sector to examine the state of the region’s preparations for Cricket World Cup 2007, to be held in the Caribbean for first time, as well as regional preparations for the impending hurricane season.

Richardson was upbeat about the Caribbean’s plans to host the cricket tournament and will channel his organization’s energies into ensuring that Antigua and Barbuda reap long-term benefits in the aftermath of the World Cup.

CMExPress sponsors and supporters include Almond Resorts, American Express, Antigua and Barbuda Department of Tourism, Association of Caribbean Media Workers, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Black Entertainment Television, BWIA West Indies, Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism, Caribbean Broadcasting Union, Caribbean Hotel Association, Caribbean Star Airlines, Caribbean Sun Airlines, Coco Kreole, Elite Island Resorts, Half Moon Montego Bay, Jamaica Pegasus, Jamaica Tourist Board, Ruder Finn, Sandals Resorts, Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Tourism, United Nations Development Programme, and the United States Agency for International Development.

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