Giles Clarke: Real Halfwit Or Just Trying To Be One?

Yates had some strong words about David Morgan’s review the other night so it would be wrong of me to allow Giles Clarke’s latest utterances to go without a response.  Giles needs to stop taking whatever pills he’s been on and wake up.  Or perhaps someone would be kind enough to introduce Giles to a clue stick in the form of the Mongoose MMi3.  Yates is surprised that someone with the business acumen of Giles Clarke has ended up spouting rubbish and looking like a puppet.  Which is exactly what has happened here.

But before I do, what is it about sports administration and governance that attracts or turns people into retards and halfwits?  That could be one hell of a long discussion:

Septic Blatter, Numbnuts Srinivasan, Ijaz Butt, Justin Vaughan, now Giles Clarke – all apparently successful yet responsible for some mind blowingly stupid acts and utterances over the years.  Yes, there are plenty of others but to catalogue such halfwittery would take time that Yates doesn’t have right now.  Don’t forget the chaos within Sri Lankan cricket either.

Anyway, back to the issue at hand.  Cricket faces a number of threats.  Match fixing is the most discussed issue at the moment. The ACSU’s failure to apprehend corrupt players is an indictment on the ICC.  Match fixing has now been confirmed in the English domestic game and could have massive repercussions.  The ICC itself doesn’t seem to have any clue how to progress the Associate nations towards test level and was massively rebuked by boards and fans for its initial desire to discount them from the World Cup. Its governance structure is outdated and cannot pass any description of real impartiality and having the interests of the game at heart.  It is open to misuse and bad influences by vested interests.

Which leads me nicely onto the greed of the BCCI, which is well known, as is its bullying attitude whenever something it doesn’t like comes along.  Like the ICL.  Oh yes, Yates will alwsy remember the behaviour of the BCCI and Justin Vaughan.  The Board for Control of Cricket In India throws its bloated, greedy weight around every chance it gets.

Meanwhile in England, the vagaries, strangeness and vested interests of local councils threaten our first class counties.  Well meaning but ultimately flawed ideas are being mooted to change (and weaken IMO) the domestic structure.  More counties are reliant on getting a test match during the season and face financial troubles if they do do not get one; such a  business model cannot expand and continue to work.  Finally the BBC is considering cuts which would render its radio county cricket coverage only marginally better than that of Planet Rock.

So, what does Giles think is the biggest danger facing cricket?  No, it’s not him looking like a sack of faeces tied up with string whenever he’s on television, it’s….


Specifically internet piracy. Yates thinks Giles has been hanging around his greedy counterparts at the BCCI, being fed the same sort of bulldust that Lord Mandelson was fed that resulted in the Digital Economy Act.  The word “Pirate” can easily be thrown into a conversation, and has been for years.  Readers of a certain age will surely remember the “Home taping is killing music” and “Home taping is piracy” crap that used to appear on record sleeves.  “Pirate” radio stations used to broadcast without licenses.  Latterly software and DVD pirates have been said to fund drug dealers, criminals and prostitute rings.  Buy a new DVD now and you may well find yourself forced to watch a number of “features” telling you these very things.

Yates used to be a regular at a damn fine hostelry in the West Midlands for some years and not once did he see a “knock-off Nigel” type character offering illegal copies of software, videos, or DVDs.  I am sure these type of characters do exist but I venture that the reality is nothing like the overexaggerated argument. There is a lot of crap spouted by the likes of the BPI, RIAA and MPAA, much of it without any substantial evidence to back up what it said.  Rather like the Digital Economy Act, in fact.  Those of you on Twitter would do well to follow Glyn Moody, (no relation to Tom as far as Yates knows) a technology journalist who often writes and comments on so-called “piracy” issues, exposing the poor arguments and blowing the myths apart.

The timing of Clarke’s comments is interesting.  There is a growing backlash against legislation such as SOPA, the Digital Economy Act and people like the now discredited and struck off solicitor Andrew Crossley, who tried to bully, threaten and exploit people claiming they were “pirates”.  There’s also a BSkyB deal up for renewal.   Clarke may not know much about any of the former but he does know about the latter.

The ECB’s orginal acceptance of the Murdoch shilling did not go down well with a lot of people.  Murdoch’s brand is now worse stained than perhaps it has ever been, even if the sports coverage is very good.  Clarke may feel there is a need to be seen to be doing something to protect the Murdoch investment in what time they have left on the current deal.  Times are hard for all of us.

Ok, fine, but is Clarke really telling us that these sites are costing the ECB millions in money they should be seeing? Clarke needs to do his research before spouting this sort of crap.  Here’s something he should have seen.  Just because someone looks at an internet stream of an event doesn’t mean they’re going to go out and get Sky.

More to the point has Clarke ever tried using any of these sites?  Yates asked a couple of friends if they had tried to use any of these streaming sites.  They responded that they had but the numbers of pop up adverts and speed of the server made the whole experience unwatchable.  That is the polite, cleaned up version.

Clarke needs to be careful in linking this to match fixing.  Mervyn Westfield’s guilty plea could have devastating ramifications for the domestic game.  It was not the ECB’s proactiveness that nailed Westfield, it was Westfield’s inability to keep his mouth shut. Would the ECB have nailed Westfield if he had kept schtum?  Even with the best will in the world, I rather doubt it. The ECB’s actions after Westfield was reported may well have been fine.  It is their actions before the report that will merit investigation and discussion.  Let’s be honest, if an illegal bookmaker has got a few quid to spare he’s probably going to have (or have access to) a satellite feed of events with a better picture quality than internet streaming provides.

Giles, like David Morgan you might mean well but in this case you’re coming across as a halfwit or as the puppet of a greedy rights owner/vested interest.  And in doing so you’re associating yourself with the RIAA, MPAA and the likes Andrew Crossley.  What’s that saying about you can tell a lot about aperson by those with whom he associates?  Very poor choice of company there Giles, very poor.  This pudding is very over-egged, its protagonists discredited.

Whose song are you singing, Giles? Were you trying to be contraversial and perhaps direct attention away from the flawed Morgan Review and the Westfield case?

There are bigger things to worry about in cricket right now.  Halfwitted administrators being one of them.