Yorkshire ‘open’ about new chair search, says chief executive Stephen Vaughan | ‘Commercial Capability Key’ | Cricket News
Yorkshire chief executive Stephen Vaughan has said anyone who can help the club deal with its financial difficulties will be “listened to seriously” for the vacancy, with Colin Graves having declared his interest in returning.
Vaughan explained the issues the club is facing to members at the county’s annual general meeting on Friday night, highlighting a £3.5m cash crunch this year and the need to repay £14.9m sterling to the Graves Trust.
A return of Graves would be controversial, with his first stint as chairman of 2012 and 2015 overlapping Azeem Rafiq’s time at the club, a period in which the club have now admitted they failed to struggle against the systemic use of racist and/or discriminatory language. Nonetheless, he said earlier this year he was ready to return “on his terms”.
Robin Smith, also a former county chairman and a longtime Graves associate, asked the board at the AGM why they were “procrastinating” on Graves’ return, urging him to “get along with Colin quickly and get rid of all this confusion and delay”.
Vaughan and co-chair Baroness Grey-Thompson spoke at the meeting about the “robust process” followed to recruit a replacement for outgoing chair Lord Kamlesh Patel.
And after the AGM, Vaughan told the PA news agency: “Obviously it wouldn’t be fair to talk about people who may or may not be interested in this role. However, we are very open to people who can do well for the club.
“When Lord Patel arrived there was a term for the chairman at that time and obviously that was quite a transformational change, that term has changed.
“Someone who can help refinance the club and who can help us commercially moving forward will be seen as a key performance indicator. Anyone who can do that will be listened to seriously.”
Vaughan told members there were “several conversations” going on around the club’s debt refinancing.
He also said things would “get worse before they get better” with the Cricket Disciplinary Committee’s looming sanctions, but insisted the problems Yorkshire faced were not “insurmountable”.
Vaughan hopes the county’s efforts to transform will be taken into account when penalties are imposed for the racism scandal that has engulfed the club.
The county admitted four counts in total in relation to the CDC case linked to allegations made by former Yorkshire bowler Rafiq.
Decisions on liability for six people formerly linked to Yorkshire, including former England captain Michael Vaughan, could be made as early as next week by the CDC, but the Yorkshire chief executive is keen to hear what penalties the club will face as soon as possible.
“We want to rip the bandage off,” Vaughan said.
“We’re talking about a matter of years now that these things are happening, and I can tell you (there’s) kind of a fog hanging over the organization right now because we don’t know (what’s going to happen ).
“I liken it to jumping off the board at the swimming pools. The jumping part isn’t that bad, it’s just going up the stairs that scares you. So for everyone here, we want to know what it’s like. is, deal with and move on.
“I really hope first and foremost that all the work done during this period will be taken into account when we come to this conversation (on penalties). English cricket is stronger than Yorkshire cricket.”
Vaughan said the helpline launched by outgoing chairman Lord Patel in November 2021 would be maintained ‘for the foreseeable future’ but said it would eventually be phased out due to its ‘significant’ cost when the time comes .
“The optics aren’t good if we were to shoot this now,” he said.
“Going forward, however, the cost of the hotline is significant. What we’d like to do at some point, when we think that’s the right point, is move on to something that we can manage in a more sustainable way, but make sure it is fit for its purpose and allows any member of staff or anyone involved with the club to have an outlet for any problems they feel they have. “
The cost of the helpline, governance and listening reviews and the county’s equality, diversity and inclusion plan is listed at over £700,000 in the county’s 2022 year-end accounts. club.