November 13, 2008

USA

Groundhog day for dysfunctional USA board

Martin Williamson

Patience is running out in the international community with the continuing failure of the USA Cricket Association to fulfill obligations which followed the implementation of a new constitution and fresh elections in March.

In those elections, Gladstone Dainty, who many hold responsible for the tattered reputation of the USACA and its suspension from the ICC in 2006, was surprisingly re-elected as president, although almost all of those most closely linked with him were booted out of office. Hopes the new members of the executive would be able to bring order to the USACA have already disappeared.

Despite a brief charm offensive in the weeks ahead of the March elections, the hallmarks of the old regime - a lack of accountability, a virtual media blackout, poorly-organised events - have resurfaced since. The new executive has not met and attempts to convene meetings have proved fruitless. The next one is scheduled for November but few believe it will actually happen.

Three-and-a-half years ago Malcolm Speed, at the time the CEO of the ICC, said "the governance of USACA appears to have reached a level that is dysfunctional". There is a suspicion that things are rapidly approaching that state again.

However, while for now the ICC has remained silent on the matter, its policy being that a democratically-elected board has to get its own house in order, the USACA has failed to fulfil a major commitment, namely to appoint a full-time chief executive by October 1. At that date, the terms of employment had not even been agreed as that can only be done at an executive meeting. Rumours abound that one of those voted out in March could be parachuted in to strengthen Dainty's position.

While it might suit Dainty to let things rumble on, it is unlikely the ICC will be so relaxed. The lack of appointing the CEO could mean at the least all funding to the USACA will be cut off - that is in the ICC's own rules for Associates - and with the increases due next year and additional high-performance grants, that will runs into hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, given Dainty and the USACA's poor track record, it is possible that another suspension could be on the cards.

Yet again, Dainty's lack of action and poor control is risking vital funding and the USA's international credibility and exposure. Those who voted for him last March should be asking themselves why they did so when it was pretty obvious this old leopard was not about to change his spots. Not only that, those members of regions that voted for Dainty should be asking their representatives to explain why they acted as they did.

If people are waiting for the ICC to step in, by the time it does it will be too late. It is, again, down to stakeholders to act. To be precise, the non-Dainty-aligned executive has to insist on a meeting regardless of whether Dainty attends and to start grabbing the USACA by the scruff of the neck. They outnumber Dainty and now they need to turn their guns on him.

Despite a brief charm offensive in the weeks ahead of the March elections, the hallmarks of the old regime - a lack of accountability, a virtual media blackout, poorly-organised events - have resurfaced since. The new executive had not met and attempts to convene meetings have proved fruitless. The next one is scheduled for November but few believe it will actually happen.

Three-and-a-half years ago Malcolm Speed, at the time the CEO of the ICC, said "the governance of USACA appears to have reached a level that is dysfunctional". There is a suspicion that things are rapidly approaching that scenario again.

However, while for now the ICC has remained silent on the matter, its policy being that a democratically-elected board has to get its own house in order, the USACA has failed to fulfil a major commitment, namely to appoint a full-time chief executive by October 1. At that date, the terms of employment had not even been agreed as that can only be done at an executive meeting. Rumours abound that one of those voted out in March could be parachuted in to strengthen Dainty's position.

While it might suit Dainty to let things rumble on, it is unlikely the ICC will be so relaxed. At the least, all funding to the USACA will be cut off - that is in the ICC's own rules for Associates - and with the increases due next year and additional high-performance grants that will runs into hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, given Dainty and the USACA's poor track record, it is increasingly possible that another suspension could be on the cards.

Yet again, Dainty's lack of action and poor control is risking vital funding and the USA's international credibility and exposure.

Those who voted for him last March should be asking themselves why they did so when it was pretty obvious this old leopard was not about to change his spots. Not only that, those members of regions that voted for Dainty should be asking their representatives what they were thinking.

If people are waiting for the ICC to step in, by the time it does it will be too late. It is, again, down to stakeholders to act. To be precise, the non-Dainty-aligned executive has to insist on a meeting to be held regardless of whether Dainty attends and to start grabbing US cricket by the scruff of the neck. They outnumber Dainty and now they need to turn their guns on him.

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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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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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