Smoke and mirrors inside the USA?
There is now hardly anyone in USA cricket circles who believes that there ever was a Centrex deal negotiated by, and for, the USACA Cricket Association.
Reported on Cricinfo by a gentleman who proclaimed himself the USACA representative for media relations (an appointment, incidentally, which was never presented for approval of the USACA board of directors), the magic deal appears to be a case of smoke and mirrors, with no basis in fact or reality. There is no other explanation that can fit the facts at hand.
An unguarded statement by the media representative provides a clue to what is going on. According to his explanation, USACA wanted to make sure the draft constitution was being sent out by hard copy, so its contents would not be "tampered with". Surely some one in the USACA has heard of "read only" reports, which can be sent out with a single mouse click? In any case, if the original of the draft was still in the USACA's files, would it be so difficult to compare it with any tampered drafts that were sent back--and view the tamperings as contributions to the discussion, rather than as attempts to sabotage the USACA? Or is the process of discussion inherently subversive in USACA's eyes, so any discussion is to be perceived as a threat?
Meanwhile, the USA Council of Cricket League Presidents, or CLP, is not waiting for USACA to keep prevaricating. It has moved swiftly to take centre stage in US cricket politics, and is picking up momentum as time passes.
The first thing CLP has done is to find out which US cricket leagues can be counted on for support. Firm participation is expected from leagues west of the Mississippi, including Chicago. As of 2007, there are 15 leagues in Western USA who could participate if they so wished. Perhaps four or five from Eastern USA might join. Together, these leagues cover 75% of cricket clubs in the USA, which is a healthy place to start.
The CLP also forwarded a formal list of 12 amendments to the USACA draft constitution, along with a detailed critique of the draft explaining the need for these amendments - needless to say, there has been no response of any kind from the USACA. The CLP is also taking steps in the federal courts to block USACA's plan to register itself in New York, and seeking an injunction to block any implementation of the draft USACA constitution until it is fully approved and ratified by its membership.
The CLP is warning all cricket clubs that it may take some time to exorcise all the demons left over from the past three years of mismanagement by the USACA. But the process, says CLP, is at last fully under way.
Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa