Robin Smith sends wish-list to fellow former Yorkshire chairman Colin Graves in Yorkshire civil war


EXCLUSIVE: Robin Smith sends wish-list to fellow former Yorkshire chairman Colin Graves as pair bid to have current incumbent Lord Patel removed from role and thwart ECB’s proposed reforms as county’s civil war escalates

  • Former ECB and Yorkshire chairman Colin Graves has emerged as a key player
  • Robin Smith is working alongside Graves to remove current chairman Lord Patel
  • Smith is understood to have claimed that Graves is open to a Yorkshire return

Former ECB and Yorkshire chairman Colin Graves has emerged as a key player in the county’s civil war despite twice refusing to appear before a parliamentary committee on the grounds he is no longer involved at the club.

Sportsmail has seen emails between Graves and Robin Smith, another former chairman who is seeking to remove current chairman Lord Patel, which appear to suggest that the pair are working together to thwart the ECB’s proposed reforms at Yorkshire.  

In an email sent to Graves this week, Smith refers to a planned summit with Patel next week, before adding: ‘We need to determine what we want from the meeting.’ 

Former ECB and Yorkshire chairman Colin Graves has emerged as a key player in the county’s civil war

The 79-year-old lawyer goes on to outline a wish-list which includes the removal of Patel as chairman, blocking governance reforms the ECB are demanding to secure the return of international cricket to Headingley and an apology from the governing body that they were wrong to remove Test matches from Yorkshire in the first place.

Smith is also understood to have claimed privately that Graves is open to returning to the Yorkshire Board, which would be a remarkable development given that it is just two months since his family Trust agreed to remove their voting rights in one of the key demands made by the ECB. 

Graves left Yorkshire to join the ECB as chairman seven years ago, but retains a significant financial interest as the Colin Graves Trust are owed £14.9million in loans.

Graves and another former chairman Robin Smith are working together to remove current chairman Lord Patel (pictured)

Graves and another former chairman Robin Smith are working together to remove current chairman Lord Patel (pictured)

Graves claimed he had no interest in cricket of Yorkshire when twice rejecting invitations to appear before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee in the last four months. 

The 74-year-old is close to both the feuding Smith and Patel, and it is unclear whether he is seeking to broker a peace deal or to secure an extraordinary return to Yorkshire.

In another development to the long-running saga Patel has written to the ECB asking them for ‘formal support’ as he struggles to deal with the crisis, with his situation exacerbated by the fact he is suffering with health problems. 

In an email to various ECB executives, including chief executive Tom Harrison, Patel wrote: ‘Without firm formal support from ECB I am left wide open legally to be sued. I cannot carry on in this position.

Former chairman Graves is understood to be open to returning to the Yorkshire Board

Former chairman Graves is understood to be open to returning to the Yorkshire Board

‘I have now told YCCC [Yorkshire] that I will step down working seven days a week and simply do what I can pro bono (as hopefully the team can get on with the work needed). 

‘But the issue of Robin and his colleagues still remains and it feels like no one is prepared to tackle him?

‘I believe that all his demands will not fulfil ECB conditions. However, if it allows the club to move forward properly I am more than happy to step away.’

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