Npower lambasts cricket governing body

The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has come under pressure after long-standing sponsor npower expressed concern over the lack of leadership at the top of the organisation.

The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has come under pressure after long-standing sponsor npower expressed concern over the lack of leadership at the top of the organisation.

The ECB faces renegotiation talks with major sponsors at a time when there is speculation that England team partner Vodafone is looking to end its deal. The organisation will also have to renegotiate its sponsorship deal with npower for next season, as well as decide the fate of its television deal with Channel 4.

The ECB has been rocked by a string of senior resignations, including chief executive Tim Lamb, director of communications John Read, commercial director Mark Sibley and chairman of corporate affairs Des Wilson.

The organisation has appointed Majestic Wines founder and Somerset cricket club chairman Giles Clarke to head its marketing committee until a full-time replacement is appointed for Sibley, who left in June (MW May 27).

Npower head of brand Kevin Peake says the company is unlikely to be able to renegotiate its deal with the ECB until next year, although it should have been settled by the end of the NatWest series.

But npower will not negotiate its sponsorship deal until after the ECB has finalised its TV rights deal, which will run from 2006. Peake adds: “I’d be amazed if the ECB even has a shortlist for chief executive by September, which would probably mean a January start date and a commercial director appointed some time after that.”

A Vodafone spokeswoman says: “It is something we are looking at, as we do with all sponsorships when they come up for renewal.”

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