independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Pressure on cricket club boss to quit over Asian players row

THE executive president of Leinster Cricket Club is refusing to say whether he will stand down, in line with an internal disciplinary committee recommendation.



It follows the publication of a report into the role of Andre Marchand in a dispute with a number of Asian members.

A large number of Asian players threatened to quit the 160-year-old club - which is in Rathmines, Co Dublin - after they were questioned in relation to membership during a T20 India and Pakistan cricket match on September 30.

The internal report said the behaviour of Mr Marchand and, to a lesser extent, club treasurer David O'Keefe, embarrassed the club and caused offence.

Last month, the Irish Independent revealed how Asian club members, their family and friends felt "singled out" by the president while watching the match on the clubhouse television.

Mr Marchand arrived at the clubhouse bar at 3.45pm on the day and, soon after, began to check identification cards.

The report found that it "seemed likely" that all of those questioned were Asian.

The report stated that requesting evidence of membership of guests in the presence of known club members in the bar area was "unprecedented and unjustified".

According to the report, the bar had been booked for use by two groups on the day - cricket players and bowlers. It had been booked for the end of the season prize presentations by the bowlers. But the cricket members had been told that they could watch the T20 game in the room.

The All-Ireland hurling final replay was also on and some of the bowlers wanted to watch that but were told the television was promised to the cricketers.

Claims

The report said there were a number of disputed claims on which the committee could not make a finding.

Mr Marchand and Mr O'Keefe both denied acting in an aggressive and threatening way while the cricket players denied being loud, raucous and intrusive.

The report's findings were:

* That evidence of membership was requested of members and the guests of members in a manner that was unjustified.

* That the guests and members were made to feel unwelcome.

* That as a result, offence was caused both to members and their guests.

The committee said that "with great regret" it recommended that Mr Marchand withdraw from the office of president.

It said there was not sufficient evidence to warrant censure of Mr O'Keefe.

Asked if he accepted the findings of the report or if he would step down, Mr Marchand said: "No comment, thank you."

Irish Independent

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