(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Kumar Sangakkara has been offered the opportunity to extend his stint as MCC president for a further year in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
The game’s global outlook has been – and continues to be – severely disrupted by the outbreak of Covid-19, leading the MCC committee to recommend that the former Sri Lanka captain is invited to serve as president through to September 30, 2021, having initially taken up the role on October 1, 2019.
The recommendation, which Sangakkara has accepted, still has to be approved by the club’s members at the annual general meeting, which has been rescheduled to June 24.
Although it is tradition that presidents remain in the role for a single year, there have been exceptions in the past, owing to unusual circumstances. Lord Hawke and Stanley Christopherson served through the entirety of the First and Second World Wars, respectively.
Sangakkara, who was already heavily involved with the MCC beforehand, became the first non-British president in the organisation’s history. He previously gave the MCC Cowdrey Lecture in 2011, while he was made an honorary life member in 2012.
In February, he captained an MCC side on their tour of Pakistan – their first such visit to the country since 1973.
The club has also informed its members that refunds on annual subscriptions will not be provided for the 2020 season despite the possibility of no cricket being played.
An email sent to members on Tuesday and seen by The Cricketer explained: “This was a hard decision to take. We have reduced expenditure across the board, but subscriptions are the bedrock of the club’s finances, critical to ensuring we weather the current storm. Ultimately, you own the club and I hope that in that context you will be understanding of the position the committee has felt it needed to take.
“In coming to this decision, we have been mindful that individual members suffering major personal financial hardship may find their position compounded by the club’s retention of their subscription. If you are struggling in this way, please let us know in confidence but I would respectfully ask you to do that only in situations of considerable need and in the context of being fair and considerate to your fellow members.”
In addition, the MCC is looking at the possibility of introducing a life membership scheme to assist financially in enabling the continuing redevelopment of the Compton and Edrich stands. A similar mechanism has been employed in the past in funding redevelopments of the Grand Stand. It is viewed as an alternative to “debt-finance, with bank lending, facilitated long-term borrowing and bonds all having been considered”, according to the email sent to members.
“The committee is minded to recommend a new life membership scheme to members, supported by limited bank borrowing if necessary, to enable us to complete the redevelopment of the Compton and Edrich stands on time.” Proposals will be brought to members at the club’s annual general meeting.