Legendary West Indies pace bowler Michael Holding has caused an uproar in the cricketing world by accusing Cricket West Indies (CWI) for taking rather suspicious financial decisions—going as far as hinting that money laundering could have been involved too.
In a YouTube interview, Holding, famously known as ‘whispering death’ dropped the truth bomb when he started reading content from a ‘confidential’ audit report of Pannell Kerr Foster (PKF) which he got access to.
“Each page I turn I get so angry,” said the 66-year-old bowler, referring to the audit report he repeatedly showed in the interview. “The 60-page audit report does not look good. It is a damning and harsh report. I want to delve into it. I picked three reports,” he further said.
“On August 8, 2018, the CWI received $1,34,0200 on behalf of Dominica Cricket Association from a third party which appears to be an off-shore corporation,” said Holding whilst giving a hint that money-laundering could have played a part.
Remember it is not illegal to use offshore banking, however not disclosing it certainly is and the CWI did not do it despite sitting on the report for quite some time. Asked why the report was not made public, Holding said it could be due to scathing details.
Further delving into the details and questioning the due-diligence performed in the transaction, the bowler pointed out, “In this particular situation, CWI was a financial conduit. This money was paid over to DCA in three tranches – USD 104,100 on November 16, 2018, USD 15,700 on August 2, 2019, and USD 14,400 on September 21, 2019,”
The fiery pacer questioned another dubious transaction involving money from the Indian cricket board—BCCI. He alleged misuse of half a million dollars (USD 500,000) donated by BCCI in 2014 for the benefit of former West Indies players.
“I am a past player, and I am not saying I want any of it. But I know a lot of past players who have not heard one cent of the half a million dollars going to any of them. I am absolutely sure if they had done that, they would have made a big hullabaloo about it. Where is that half a million dollars?” the whistle-blower Holding was in no mood to relent.
After Holding’s outburst, the CWI released an official statement by its President Ricky Skerritt. According to Skerritt, the West-Indian board has been working with the utmost honesty and integrity and has not done anything wrong.
The Caribbean team was one of the most feared sides in its heydays but off late, the constant pay disputes and ego-tussles between its players and the board has led to the diminishing quality of play from the side.
Apart from a few individual brilliance in the shorter format of the game that acts as a rescue act, the performance of West Indies team has been lackluster and forgettable, to say the least in the longer formats.
The West Indies team had a disastrous 2019 ODI World Cup where they were knocked out of the quadrennial tournament in the league stage itself.
Partly the blame is on the board that has been harping its own tune and not respecting the heavyweights of the Caribbean. The treatment of its star-players like Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, and others has been downright demeaning.
The insipid style of management by the Board has resulted in the modern West Indies team resembling more of a national football side, with players congregating solely before major tournaments and remaining unavailable throughout the year otherwise.
Dwayne Bravo has gone on the record many times saying ‘Vindictive people ended careers of many players’. He was referring to former West Indies Board President Dave Cameron who made a mumble-jumble of the cricketing administration in the country.
When Ricky Skerritt, who used to be the national team’s manager took charge as the board president last year, there was hope all around that finally there could be major revamps in the Caribbean setup.
However, the damning allegations Holding has come up with has all but ascertained the belief that the rot runs deep in the West Indies Board.