Speaker 15th March 2019 - Mike O'Farrell, Chairman of the MCCC

Chesham Rotary was pleased to welcome Mike O’Farrell, Chairman of Middlesex County Cricket Club, to speak on “Professional Cricket”.

Mike O'Farrell of the MCCC
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Chesham Rotary was pleased to welcome Mike O’Farrell, Chairman of Middlesex County Cricket Club, to speak on “Professional Cricket”.

Mike commenced with an explanation of the historical relationship between the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club), the original owners of the Home of Cricket at Lords, and the Middlesex County Cricket Club, early tenants at the hallowed ground. Pointing out that the MCCC has a 150-year history  he gave an insight into the development of the current contractual relationship between professional players and the relatively recent progress from six-month commitments to annualised contracts, and the relative earnings of County, English and Indian Premier League players.

The inevitable comparison was drawn with other professional sports – the scale of their resources not to mention individual earnings – contrasting to cricket’s reliance on volunteers on the Board of this and other County Clubs.  His own commitment of some 25 hours a week to the MCCC and guidance of many initiatives emphasising the contrast.   Progress within the MCCC has included recruitment of new coaches and support staff together with outreach into the community.

The MCCC is actively initiating projects for disabled and disadvantaged – the MCCC has initiated cricket workshops in London Schools where cricket fields are scarce, and sponsorship gained from a London Livery Company is used to promote the sport and its positive values among young people.

Mike spoke on the pressure upon young players with extended touring commitments, the respect with which our cricketing greats are held and provided examples of the sportsmanship embodied within the game. He concluded with an explanation of the impact of increased funding into the game which is about to flow from major pay to view networks – and the difficulty of reconciling the needs of these networks to the fundamental nature of cricket in the UK.

A lively question and answer session followed, and Mike was warmly thanked for an eye opening and thoroughly enjoyable talk,