Sydney : Australia’s largest and reputed sporting club — Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) — has been accused by one of its most prominent members of being a closed and undemocratic old boys’ retreat that has lost touch with the modern world.
The unprecedented internal assault on the values of the powerful 171-year-old blue-blood club is contained in a private letter to the MCC president from Colin Beames, son of Melbourne sporting icon Percy Beames, The Australian reports.
Beames is a 40-year MCC member whose late father was a sporting journalist, footballer and cricketer and has a bar named after him inside the members’ area of the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Beames said a recent failed attempt by himself to be elected to the powerful MCC committee convinced him the election process was a “charade” in which the committee exploits and manipulates the rules to ensure its candidates always win.
“The MCC committee is feigning democracy – it is a case of who you know – (and) this closed-shop mentality is very unhealthy,” Beames said.
Beames says this “election” process is a sham because only one outside candidate has managed to unseat a sitting committee member since the club was founded in 1838. Only about 10 per cent of members vote in such elections.
In his letter to MCC president David Meiklejohn, Beames accused MCC of being a self-serving “old boys network”.
“A number of long-standing MCC members are disgruntled at what they perceive as an ‘old boys’ network operating within the committee and their views may very well represent the ‘tip of the iceberg’ as far as other members are concerned,” Beames wrote in his letter.
“I strongly suspect that the majority of (the 100,000) MCC members, and the general public at large, would look upon the current appointment and election process to the committee unfavourably, should they become aware of the process. The current customs and practices are out of step with the modern world and are unsustainable.”
Meiklejohn rejected the criticism. “We have a very democratic system,” he said. “Any person who wants to can stand for the committee and every full member of the club has the right to vote.”