CricketNext Investigation: Allegations Against Ex-CEO and ICC’s Integrity Unit
Eight months before he got marching orders from the International Cricket Council (ICC) top brass, ex-CEO Manu Sawhney had ordered a review of the cricket body’s Integrity Unit headed by Alex Marshall. Sawhney, who was asked to quit in 2021 after serving for over two years, had received a complaint against Marshall.
In a “private and confidential” email by Sawhney, addressed to the complainant, he is learnt to have asked for an external and independent review of the Marshall-headed Integrity Unit. CricketNext has additionally learned that Sawhney, in August 2020, appointed GGC Consultancy as the independent party to carry out the review led by Avtar Gill, Senior Partner at GGC Consultancy.
“We have recently received some critical feedback on the operation of the Integrity Unit. It’s important that we review this feedback objectively with the help of everyone in the Integrity Unit, and that we do so with external independent input,” reads Sawhney’s email, also copied to the HR division. “I want to make sure that the review is carried out as fairly as possible for everyone involved,” Sawhney further wrote in the email.
When contacted, Gill refused to divulge any details. “I’m not at liberty to share any details due to the confidentiality of the engagement,” Gill told CricketNext.
ICC’s Silence on Allegations
The same set of ICC bosses, who were very vocal against Sawhney in a “cultural investigation” conducted by UK-based PriceWaterHouseCoopers (PWC), have remained quiet on the allegations against Marshall, and the latest harassment allegations by a female staffer too have failed to attract a response.
A year before Sawhney was given marching orders, the cricket body had commissioned PWC UK reportedly for a sum of million dollars to conduct a cultural review of the organization. Sources say Sawhney turned out to be the only victim of the review process and, if true, this would perhaps remain among the costliest terminations in the sports industry ever.
More interestingly, as soon as Sawhney exited the organization, there has been no word shared on the cultural review document ever. Neither the ICC nor PWC have spoken about it. The report was swept under the carpet immediately after Sawhney walked out.
We reached out to the ICC on whether an independent review was ordered into the working of Integrity Unit during Sawhney’s term but are yet to get a response.
Allegations Against Alex Marshall
As CricketNext has been reporting since the last two days, there have been numerous allegations against Marshall, who is doubling up as the ICC Integrity Unit head and also the in-charge of the Human Resource (HR) department, but the silence of the cricket body has left everyone surprised.
“It is surprising that the ICC continues to ignore these allegations against Mr. Alex Marshall. If not anything extreme, basic would have been a hearing for the female staffer, who was part of the ICC team for around five years. Even the smallest of organizations would have ensured a hearing and some action but ICC remains quiet. Even after a comprehensive code of conduct and other policies in place,” say those tracking developments.
Alex Marshall’s Roles
Marshall became the fourth General Manager of the ICC Integrity Unit, which includes Anti-Corruption, Anti-Doping, Security, and Safeguarding, in 2017 and has been heading it since then. Later, he was given charge of the Human Resource department too. The former British policeman succeeded Yogendra Pal Singh who was GM of ICC ACU from 2011 to 2017.
The overview of the Integrity Unit on ICC’s official website reads: “The ICC, too, plays a significant role in protecting the spirit and integrity of the game through the ICC Code of Conduct, the efforts of our Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), our Anti-Doping program, and our commitment to ensuring racism has no place in our sport.”
For the record, there’s no other notable sports federation where the head of an Anti-Corruption Unit, who also happens to be a retired policeman, is also the head of Human Resources. In the present circumstances, it’s shocking that the ICC has been allowing this without enough questions being asked.
In fresh accusations shared with CricketNext, sources say the female staffer — who wrote to the ICC on harassment by Marshall — alleged “there were/are/will be many more who have suffered because of Alex Marshall” and accused the ICC top brass of protecting him.
“I am not the first employee who after serving ICC for 5 years and half of that period serving with complete dedication, honesty, and loyalty, the Chair and Board left with mental and emotional scars and I am not going to be the last employee either. There were/are/will be many more who have suffered because of Alex Marshall, but it is clear he is being protected for reasons unknown,” the former staffer is learnt to have written to the entire ICC senior leadership.
CricketNext reached out to ICC with the contents of the email, dated April 5, 2023, but are yet to get a response from them. The story will be updated moment the global cricketing body responds.
For the record, the ICC hasn’t responded to a single questionnaire from Smartkhabrinews CricketNext except sharing a standard paragraph: “The ICC does not comment on employee issues; however, we have fair and thorough policies and procedures in place to ensure any issue raised is dealt with appropriately.”