Steve Vizard has quit all his listed
company and state government boards ahead of what will probably be a
lengthy court-imposed ban next week. But what about one of the most
prestigious gigs you can land in Bleak City – his position on the
Melbourne Cricket Club committee?

John Elliott was famously
booted out of the Savage Club after going bankrupt, but what will the
likes of the MCC and the Athenaeum Club do now that Vizard has been
disgraced and will probably be banned from managing a company or being
a director for several years?


Club membership is one thing, but surely Vizard cannot remain on the
MCC committee, especially given the tens of millions of dollars ($35
million in 2003-04 alone) Victorian taxpayers have contributed to the
redevelopment of the MCG.

It is amazing that Vizard still
remains on the committee. He should have been sacked for truancy after
only attending six out of 13 MCC committee meetings in 2003-04, as you
can see on page 30 of last year’s annual report.
The only attendance record worse than that we can think of was James
Packer’s failure to attend any of the Easts board meetings in 2000 and
2001.

Then you have the ridiculous conflicts of interest endured
while Vizard also sat on the Telstra board in 2000 as the MCC committee
negotiated directly with the Packers to try to sell MCG broadcast
rights to PBL, thereby undermining Telstra’s own negotiations to buy
the rights from the AFL.

Vizard joined the MCC Committee in
December 1997 and managed his own direct conflict of interest when
Sportsview, in which he owned 25%, was given the rights to manage both
the MCC and MCG
websites. Five AFL clubs signed up on similar deal for ten years with
Sportsview in 1999-2000, but the deal with the MCC and MCG started
later and only ran from August 2000 until terminated in December 2002
when the Telstra-backed Sportal took over the gig.

If MCC
chairman David Jones, also the chairman of Tattersall’s, has any sense
he’ll get Vizard off the MCC committee before he’s banned on 21 July.
Luminaries such as Lend Lease chairman David Crawford and former Amcor
finance director David Meiklejohn surely won’t want to be in the same
room as someone like Steve Vizard when the committee next meets. How
can they trust him with any confidential information that is discussed
in his presence?

Peter Fray

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