This decision was confirmed by the ECB’s Administrative Council following the decision to postpone the first season of the Hundreds to 2021.
Graves, who was appointed president in May 2015, was instrumental in the creation of the new competition and last year accepted an extension of his term until November 2020 to oversee his inaugural season, which was due to from July 22 to August 14.
Now, however, with the Covid-19 epidemic forcing a halt to all cricket matches in England and Wales at least until July 1, Graves has agreed to end his term earlier. While there is a lot of work to do in the meantime as English cricket grapples with the challenge of the pandemic, Graves’ focus will certainly turn to his candidacy to become the new President of the ICC , the election to be held at the June AGM.
Commenting on his decision, Mr. Graves said: READ ALSO: First Hundred season postponed to 2021
“It is important both for the game and for the ECB’s management board to allow Ian Watmore to start his role earlier than expected. I have no doubt that his wealth of experience in sport, business and government will be invaluable as we go through this crisis.
“I have been extremely encouraged by the way cricket has come together in these recent and unimaginable times. There is still a long way to go, but I have immense confidence in the excellent leadership of Tom Harrison, our management team and the ECB Council in their evolution. the focus of our response to COVID-19.
“It has been a privilege to work with so many passionate people through the game who are motivated by their belief in the power of cricket to improve life and connect communities.
“There is still much to do in the coming months, as I continue to lead the ECB during this difficult time. As August approaches, I’ll be happy to say goodbye and wish everyone I’ve worked with good luck. “
Watmore’s term still to be approved by first-class counties at the ECB’s annual general meeting at the end of May, but he received a vote of confidence from the board of directors after a week of newspaper allegations concerning his conduct while he was president of the Football League.
According to a Daily Mail report, Watmore had been involved in discussions over a dissident league that could have jeopardized a £ 595 million broadcast deal with Sky Sports, which is also the main partner of the ECB. The report also said he quit his job, citing poor health, the week after the EFL announced an independent investigation.
However, the ECB confirmed that a review of his appointment, by a sub-committee of directors comprising Barry O’Brien, Katie Bickerstaffe and Martin Darlow, had revealed no wrongdoing. Furthermore, it was concluded that the appointment process had been undertaken in a “thorough and professional” manner and the Committee now considers the case closed.
Watmore’s appointment was approved unanimously by the ECB board on Wednesday, where board members Darlow and Lucy Pearson also had their terms extended.