Members at Yorkshire EGM greenlight Colin Graves’ takeover

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Colin Graves’ takeover of Yorkshire has been approved by the club’s members at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) at Headingley. Pending regulatory approval from the Financial Conduct Authority, he will become chair of a new board. Graves, who previously chaired the club from 2012 to 2015, warned members that the consequences of failing to approve his offer to refinance the club would be “far-reaching” and could include administration or insolvency. He required the support of two-thirds of the members present, and received 88.3% of the valid votes cast. His previous tenure covered part of the period for which Yorkshire were fined £400,000 for failing to address the systemic use of racist or discriminatory language, and Graves “personally and unreservedly” apologized to victims of institutional racism at Yorkshire last month. He was criticized by the ECB last year after dismissing previous allegations of racism as “banter” but the governing body has described his return as Yorkshire’s “only viable option” and encouraged him to continue the club’s recent work in making cricket a more inclusive sport. The club said in a statement: “The Yorkshire County Cricket Club Limited (YCCC) is pleased to announce that the special resolution voted on at the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) held in the Long Room at Headingley, on Friday, 2 February, 2024 was passed. One special resolution was voted on during the meeting, with the resolution passed by members. The result of the vote for the special resolution to make a number of changes to the rules of the Club required in relation to a refinancing proposal from Colin Graves as set out in the notice of the was announced, with members voting in favor of the rule changes.” In total, 746 members voted for the resolution, while 99 voted against and 48 invalid or spoiled votes were discounted. Graves will be joined on the Yorkshire board by three other members of the consortium whose offer of emergency funding to the club was voted through: Phillip Hodson, the Yorkshire-born former President of MCC; Sanjeev Gandhi, a former non-executive director of the Hundred, and Sanjay Patel, the long-term ECB executive who left his role as managing director of the Hundred last summer. Under the terms of the deal, Yorkshire will receive an immediate injection of £1 million, followed by further investment worth £4 million. Graves’ original involvement with the club came about in similar financial circumstances in 2002, when as the founder of the Costcutter supermarket chain, his bailout saved them from bankruptcy. His family trust, which is managed by independent trustees, is still owed nearly £15 million by the club. Graves has been invited to give evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee next month, with chair Dame Caroline Dinenage MP saying last month that his return “risks undermining what progress has been made so far”.

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