Tuesday 28 March 2017

Leinster Cricket Club in turmoil after bar row upsets Asian players

Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

A DISPUTE involving Asian members of Leinster Cricket Club and two of its executive committee is threatening the future of the 160-year-old organisation.

The row has emerged following an incident at the club members' bar during a T20 cricket match between India and Pakistan on September 30.

The club has a number of senior players from each country and many had gathered with their friends, family and Irish team-mates to enjoy the match on the television in the bar.

The spat arose when the executive president of club, Andre Marchand, instructed the barman to check the club membership identification cards of those present.

It is understood that many of the Indian and Pakistani club members felt that they were "singled out" by the president.

A number of people were asked to leave and one witness said that some were left visibly upset and shaken over the incident.

The Irish Independent has learnt that at least nine complaints have been made by club members about the conduct of Mr Marchand and the club's treasurer David O'Keefe.

Mr O'Keefe was present at the bar and some club members have claimed he failed to calm the situation.

It is understood that Mr Marchand has defended his conduct and has said he acted within his powers as president.

However, around 50 senior team players – both Irish and Asian – have threatened to boycott the club unless disciplinary action is taken.

A club source said that such a huge loss of membership fees along with reduced player rosters for matches would threaten the future of Leinster Cricket.

The figure represents around one-third of Leinster Cricket's entire senior membership.

A three-person committee comprised of members of the club "in good standing" has been appointed to investigate the incident.

Mr Marchand told the Irish Independent he would not be talking about the incident and said that he had been advised not to comment.

A statement from the club's executive secretary John Buckley confirmed that a committee had been appointed to investigate the complaints and that the investigation had already started.

He said that in those circumstances it would be "inappropriate" to make any comment while the committee was conducting its inquiry.

"I understand the two members involved in the investigation will take a similar position," he said.

The club was established in 1852 and moved its home grounds three times between then and 1865 – when it finally moved to its present location in Observatory Lane, Rathmines, Co Dublin.

Irish Independent

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