USA September 18, 2007

The deafening silence worries US stakeholders

It is almost three months since the various factions fighting for control of cricket in the USA met in Washington and, with Ken Gordon, at the time the chairman of the West Indies Cricket Association, mediating, thrashed out a deal to broker a

It is almost three months since the various factions fighting for control of cricket in the USA met in Washington and, with Ken Gordon, at the time the chairman of the West Indies Cricket Association, mediating, thrashed out a deal to broker a solution.

The main agreement was that an independent panel would review the much-criticised new constitution and once that had been agreed on, fresh elections would follow by the end of the year. A natural follow-on from that would be the ICC readmitting the US to the international fold.

But, as with anything involving the USA Cricket Association, there has been silence ever since. In fairness, one of the conditions of the agreement was that things would not be chewed over in public, but nevertheless, it has been impossible to find out anything that has been happening.

It was expected that the constitution review would be completed by now and that the fresh document would be circulated to stakeholders for their perusal. However, after three months of an uneasy peace, reports are starting to circulate that all is not well.

One regional director flagged his concerns last week, complaining that he had not seen the new draft constitution nor heard any plans when they would be able to vote on it. "It starts to raise suspicions that again the USACA is looking to fudge the issue," he told Cricinfo.

Late last week rumours started to circulate that Gladstone Dainty, the embattled USACA president, was stalling. Dainty is blamed for most things, and while he is to blame for much of the current mess, there are many other culprits.

What will worry the Reconciliation Committee is that there are signs that people are again considering breaking away from the USACA, and this unrest will grow unless there is seen to be progress soon.

While there may well be behind-the-scenes progress, what is abundantly clear is that the USACA cannot continue to operate under a shroud of complete secrecy and expect people to trust it. And whatever the agreement was last June, all parties to it have an obligation to keep the long-suffering stakeholders inside the country in the loop.

If people's worst suspicions are realised and the USACA executive are stalling, then nobody will be left in any doubt that their motives are entirely selfish. It has to be hoped that this judgment proves unfounded, but history is not on their side.

The deadline for national elections is the end of November. In June that was six months away and there was no immediate rush. Half that period has elapsed and, as far as the stakeholders are concerned, there has been no progress. Time is running out.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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