Mulder, Esmeijer go in shock KNCB Board resignations

scoreboard sing designating number of outs in a game of baseball or softball

In another dramatic development in the KNCB’s fast-moving governance crisis, the resignations of Vice-chair Hans Mulder and Marketing and Communication Commissioner JJ Esmeijer were announced on Wednesday.

The resignations come in advance of the special general meeting demanded by ten member clubs to discuss what have been perceived as dysfunctional relationships within the KNCB Board.

Announcing the two departures, Bond secretary Robert Vermeulen wrote of Mulder that ‘Hans has tackled many difficult topics and together with (former) colleagues on the Board committed himself to strengthening the KNCB not only in sporting terms, but also financially and in its organisation.

‘We will miss his expertise, sharpness, direct manner and industriousness in the Board. We thank him for his passion and unbridled commitment to Dutch cricket.’

Mulder had previously served on the Board under Stephen van Hoogstraten and René van Ierschot, and was manager of the men’s national team until 2007. He returned to the Board as deputy to Betty Timmer in 2017. In addition to that role, he was responsible for the men’s high performance area and represented the KNCB on the Board of Cricket Nederland BV.

Esmeijer, who played 61 times for the Netherlands between 1991 and 2005, was elected to the Board in July 2020.

Vermeulen paid tribute on Wednesday to the ‘notable improvement in the KNCB’s marketing and communication strategy which Jacob Jan has been able to achieve in a tumultuous period’.

The departures of Mulder and Esmeijer mean that there are now five Board members: chair Jurgen Delfos, who took office last April, secretary Robert Vermeulen, treasurer Amit Parulekar (who is due to stand down in April next year), Youth Commissioner Barbera Boissevain, and Diversity Commissioner Mudi Allah Rakha.

The resignations inevitably raise questions about the new balance within the Board, which has reportedly been sharply divided over the decision to terminate the contract of CEO Milena van Not after just ten months.

It was a meeting between club representatives and Board members on 1 November, at which those differences emerged more clearly, which gave rise to the clubs’ demand for a special general meeting, now scheduled to take place on 1 December.

One thing is, however, clear: the sudden appearance of these two vacancies will give Delfos, who unlike his predecessors has not until now had an opportunity to assemble his own team, to put forward candidates who are ready to join him in an attempt to create a more harmonious governance model.

It may also clear the way for a full review of what went wrong with the Dutch performance in the T20 World Cup, and to consider what changes are needed to the high performance programme.

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