LONDON, February 21, 2009 (AFP) – Money has been the “ruination” of cricket, former Test umpire Dickie Bird said Saturday, after the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) terminated all contracts with alleged fraudster Allen Stanford. Bird called for a return to “old traditions and principles” in a comment piece in The Sun tabloid and said he felt “saddened” when he saw large sums of money pour into cricket.
“It was right for the England and Wales Cricket Board to terminate all contractual links with Allen Stanford,” Bird, a county batsman for his native Yorkshire and Leicestershire before becoming an umpire, wrote.
“But it is too late because the damage has already been done. It depresses me what has happened to the game I knew and was brought up on as a boy. Money has been the ruination of cricket.”
He said that authorities should have questioned Stanford’s interests in financing multi-million-dollar cricket tournaments, but instead “saw the dollar signs and dived in head-first, without thinking.”
Bird continued: “There was nothing wrong with the game throughout my era as a player and an umpire. But it has all changed. Why can’t we leave things alone? We need to return to some of the old traditions and princ