September 18, 2007

USA

The deafening silence worries US stakeholders

Martin Williamson

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.

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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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Posted by Sunny on (September 19, 2007, 16:39 GMT)

It is sad that the US cannot creat a functioning body. To think how many other countries have made big strides in their cricket and the USACA cannot even agree on a constitution for its board let alone improve on their cricket. Its shameful. This lucrative market in the US has so much to offer but it does not look it will ever get off the ground any time soon.

Posted by Mustafa Fayyaz on (September 19, 2007, 16:29 GMT)

I completely agree with John, its been such a mess that it will take some time to clean up, we need decisive action now, the local leagues are hungry for more recognition, there are thousands of players playing quality cricket, going unrecognized. we need support, big time.

Simply said its like a young BCCI all over again here, they can do anything for money.

Posted by John on (September 19, 2007, 12:48 GMT)

No one is surprised by this lack any meaningful progress. The same people doing the same thing they have done for years. The result has and continues to cripple cricket in the US. While powerhouses arise like Nepal, Malta and now China the US fades on a national basis. Locally, the Leagues continue to improve and grow. It is a shame that there is nowhere for them to go. I welcome the formation of a NEW National body, specifically excluding, expelling and banning the likes of Gladestone et al.

Posted by Greg on (September 19, 2007, 2:37 GMT)

Daft. The administration is a rabble and the idea of a breakaway is absurd. Someone grab control ( as a part of a legitimate constitutional process) from these inmates. A new, mildly intelligent and cohesive board will obviously have the support of the international community. They'll have simple, achievable goals and will welcome the input of influencial and constructive investors. Stop the grandstanding and latent ethnic bickering.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Martin Williamson
Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.

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