London: Former England women’s captain Clare Connor will become the first female president of the 233-year-old Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), it was announced at an historic AGM on Wednesday.
Connor, who was nominated by current president Kumar Sangakkara during the MCC’s first online AGM, will take up the role in October 2021, pending approval by the club’s members.
Former Sri Lanka international Sangakkara, the first non-British president, will likely remain in the role for a second 12-month spell because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the cricketing landscape.
“I am deeply honoured to be named the next President of MCC. Cricket has enriched my life so deeply already, and now it hands me this wonderful privilege,” Connor, managing director of women’s cricket at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), said in a statement.
“We often need to look back to see how far we’ve come. I made my first visit to Lord’s as a starry-eyed, cricket-obsessed nine-year-old girl at a time when women were not welcome in the Long Room. Times have changed.”
The MCC is based at Lord’s, which it owns, and is the most esteemed club in cricket, acting as custodian and arbiter of the laws of the sport. As well as playing around 480 games per year against schools, universities and clubs, it also invests £2 million ($2.49 million) per year into youth cricket.
It currently has 18,000 full members although only welcomed its first female full member in 2018, 20 years after a vote to allow women to join.
She was appointed as the ECB's head of women's cricket in 2007, having previously taught English Literature and been head of PR at Brighton College alongside her cricketing career.
Aside from her ECB duties, Connor has been Chair of the ICC Women's Cricket Committee since 2011. She has also served as a director on the board of Sussex Cricket and Sport England.
"I am thrilled that Clare has accepted the invitation to become the next President of MCC. The club has a significant role to play in cricket's global appeal and with her influence, I am sure she will make a considerable contribution to MCC," said Sangakkara.
"With the extended lead-in time until she takes office, she will have an important part to play as president-designate," added the former Sri Lanka captain, who became the club's first non-British president when he assumed office in October 2019.
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