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Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings quits after losing support

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MELBOURNE: Cricket Australia (CA) chairman Earl Eddings resigned on Wednesday, a day before he was due to stand for re-election at the board’s annual general meeting.

Eddings, whose three-year chairmanship was marked by a near-constant division between member states, was under pressure after fellow board directors nominated by New South Wales and Queensland withdrew their support for him this week.

Western Australia also pulled its support after a meeting late on Tuesday, dealing a terminal blow to his re-election hopes, Australian media reported.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to be able to serve the sport I love as a Cricket Australia director,” Eddings said. “It is my sincere hope that following my resignation the state and territory associations can unite and work together in the best interests of cricket, allowing the focus to return to the sport ahead of the 2021-22 season.”

Director Richard Freudenstein was installed as chairman in his place and will serve for a short period until a permanent replacement is elected, CA said in a statement on Wednesday.

Eddings’ resignation comes only weeks after CA said he had the full support of the board despite state members New South Wales and Queensland publicly opposing his re-election.

A CA director for 13 years, Eddings replaced David Peever in 2018 as interim chairman after the former mining executive resigned following the release of a scathing cultural review into the Newlands ball-tampering scandal.

Eddings was quickly installed as permanent chairman, triggering an embarrassing complaint from his home state Victoria, which had opposed his appointment.

Victoria removed him as its nominated director the following year but Eddings managed to cling to the chairmanship as an independent director.

Eddings and the CA board came under major scrutiny after the governing body stood down 80 per cent of its staff and tried to ram through swinging cuts to state grants as ‘proactive measures’ to deal with the fall-out from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Those moves, announced by former chief executive Kevin Roberts but endorsed by the board, were condemned by eastern states and the players’ union, which said they would prove ‘disastrous’ for the game.

With pressure mounting, Roberts resigned after losing the support of the board but Eddings pressed on for re-election despite reports of discontent dogging him to the eve of the AGM.

Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2021

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