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Grassroots suffer from Stanford demise

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Mihir Bose | 16:03 UK time, Friday, 27 February 2009

I have just learned something very interesting about Chance to Shine - the Cricket Foundation's drive to regenerate competitive cricket in state schools - Sir Allen Stanford and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

In June 2008, when the ECB did the deal with Stanford on the $1m-a-man match it was announced that Chance to Shine would benefit from it.

This was widely welcomed given the initiative's worthy objective of bringing cricket to two million children in a third of state schools by 2015.

Two years ago, when I compiled a BBC Newsnight piece on cricket, I was very impressed what was being done in places like Coventry to introduce youngsters to the game and since then, the ECB has, at every opportunity, made much of the fact that one of the beneficiaries of its Stanford involvement would be Chance to Shine.

That point was made in November 2008 during the Stanford match and earlier this week Giles Clarke, in interviews following his re-election as ECB chairman, said some of the money received from Stanford had already gone to the scheme.

However, a spokesman for the charity has now told me that no money has been received and I understand they are seeking clarification from the ECB as to what exactly Clarke meant.

The charity may have received some money had this summer's Stanford series taken place at Lord's - £1,000 for every six hit had been proposed - but since that series itself has been hit for six now it will receive nothing.

All in all one side-effect of the whole Stanford saga is that is has led to the charity which runs Chance to Shine having to reassure its UK donors and supporters.

And the charity has also had to make it clear that talk of Chance to Shine providing help and expertise in some 170 schools in the Caribbean, raising fears that its UK funds may be diverted, is wide of the mark.

If Chance to Shine was to be offered any Stanford money the decision whether to accept or not would be a matter for the Cricket Foundation's trustees.

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