Irish replaces Marsh as executive chairman of FICA

"Now, more than ever, it is critical that the voice of the players is heard"

“Now, more than ever, it is critical that the voice of the players is heard”

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Tony Irish, who is currently in charge of the South African Cricketers’ Association, will replace Paul Marsh as executive chairman at the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA).

Marsh stated that he was resigning as chief executive of the Australian Cricketers’ Association and executive chairman at FICA to take charge of the AFL Players Association.

Irish was chosen to replace Marsh at FICA’s annual meeting in Melbourne.

“I think that’s the real challenge of players’ associations. You always get more done by co-operation than you do by fighting,” Irish told ESPNcricinfo. “Whilst we feel there’s certain fundamentals that we need to stand up for, if you can do that in a way that is cooperative you’re always going to get more done. That’s what we’re hoping our relationship with the ICC is going to be – cooperative.”

Irish also noted that he wants a member at FICA to have a voice on the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) cricket committee.

“I think the level of engagement that we have with the ICC is something that we can improve, in particular at the CEC [Chief Executives’ Committee] level,” he said. “We feel that the players are the guys that get on the field and they have the most to offer when it comes to cricket issues, playing issues.

“And yet we lost the person who really used to coordinate the view of the current players on the cricket committee, and that’s something we need to try and address. Then there’s still all the day-to-day operational stuff that we’ve got to do, which is done with ICC management, and we’re hopeful that will carry on.”

Speaking about Irish’s appointment, Marsh said: “We’re delighted to have someone of Tony Irish’s calibre, experience and expertise to assume the role of executive chairman. Tony has been a tremendous advocate for players for many years at SACA and with FICA. He is a strong and respected leader who will ensure our member associations and their players continue to be passionately represented.

“We’ve seen in recent days significant changes at ICC level, which represent a new era in terms of the administration and leadership of world cricket. FICA’s position on this is well known. Our strong preference was for the controversy involving Mr Srinivasan in India to be resolved before the ICC made a decision on the chairmanship. While it’s disappointing that this did not occur, we can’t let this distract FICA from its responsibility of helping shape cricket’s future.”

Irish added that he hopes he can have as much of an impact that Marsh did during his tenure with FICA.

“His forthright and steadfast approach has ensured players worldwide have been strongly supported and well informed,” Irish said. “We thank him sincerely for his contribution and wish him the very best in his future endeavours. The cricket landscape is an evolving one, with challenges and opportunities on many fronts. Now, more than ever, it is critical that the voice of the players is heard. FICA is committed to contributing effectively to the game.”

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