Earl Eddings, the chairman of Cricket Australia (CA), resigned on Wednesday, a day before he was to stand for re-election at the board’s annual general meeting.
Eddings was under fire this week when other board directors appointed by New South Wales and Queensland withdrew their support for him after a three-year leadership defined by near-constant conflict between member states.
Western Australia withdrew its support during a meeting late Tuesday, thus ending his re-election hopes, according to Australian media.
“Being able to serve the sport I love as a Cricket Australia director has been an honor and a joy,” Eddings said. “It is my earnest hope that, following my resignation, the state and territory cricket organizations would band together and work together in the best interests of cricket, allowing the sport to regain its focus ahead of the 2021-22 season.”
CA said in a statement on Wednesday that Director Richard Freudenstein was installed as chairman in his place and will serve for a limited time until a permanent replacement is elected.
CA maintained he had the complete support of the board just weeks before Eddings resigned, despite state members New South Wales and Queensland publicly rejecting his re-election.
Eddings, a CA director for 13 years, took over as interim chairman in 2018 when veteran mining executive David Peever resigned following the release of a damning culture report into the Newlands ball-tampering disaster.
Eddings was promptly appointed as permanent chairman, resulting in an embarrassment for his home state of Victoria, which had objected to his appointment.
The following year, Victoria withdrew him as a nominated director, but Eddings was able to keep his chairmanship as an independent director.
Eddings and the CA board came under fire after the governing body laid off 80% of its staff and attempted to impose sweeping cuts to state grants as ‘preventative measures’ in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Eastern states and the players’ union both denounced the proposals, which were announced by outgoing chief executive Kevin Roberts but backed by the board. They argued they would be “disastrous” for the game.
With the pressure growing, Roberts resigned after losing the board’s backing, while Eddings campaigned for re-election despite rumors of dissatisfaction following him up until the AGM.