USA news May 5, 2011

USACA selects four for CHA board

Gladstone Dainty, John Thickett, Ram Varadarajan and Dr. Asif Ahmad have been appointed by the USACA board of directors to fill the four seats from USACA on the Cricket Holdings America LLC board. According to Thickett, the USACA Treasurer, the four men were elected in a vote held on April 29 by the USACA board of directors.

"One of the things that I believe will be good for US cricket is actually bringing in people from outside USACA and broadening the roles of involvement of people outside of USACA who have a link to cricket and who can do a lot of good work, but they don't necessarily have to be on the USACA board," Thickett told ESPNcricinfo.

Cricket Holdings America LLC was formed as a partnership in December between New Zealand Cricket, USACA, Australian-based marketing company Insite, Top Bloom and Podar Holding International. The entity will hold the majority of commercial rights to cricket in the USA, including the formation of a Twenty20 league and the staging of international matches.

One of the chief duties of the four USACA representatives on the CHA board will be deciding how to distribute USACA's portion of any profits that come through deals signed by CHA. Thickett has sketched a plan for what he feels would be an ideal method of profit distribution among the stakeholders of US cricket.

"I'm approaching this from my role as the treasurer so I know how much money USACA's spending and needs for a robust national operation and then wanting to give enough out for the regions and leagues," Thickett said. "This is very early days and it needs to be discussed and debated, but I've got it down to USACA having for its national teams and operations, 40% of the money. I'd recommend putting 20% in a reserve fund for the long term. I would put in 20% of the money for the regions and then we've also put down the final 20% going out for the leagues that make up the regions as well so they can do some grassroots development in the individual leagues as well."

However, Thickett would like to organise town hall-style meetings in order to explain what Cricket Holdings America is about and offer a chance for stakeholders to give their own opinions on how the money that funnels down to USACA should be used.

"The question for all the stakeholders in US cricket is to how to take this money and invest it," Thickett said. "In the 45 or 46 years history of USACA, I don't think it's ever really had major positive cashflow. It's always been kind of scraping by. I call it guerilla financing. Now with the license fee coming in from the LLC, there's a reasonable cashflow to do a number of things.

"We've papered out some ideas that we want to share with the board and the regions, the leagues that make them up and get everyone's input. We want a period of consultation where people can input how this money is to be invested for the future."

It is unclear who else was nominated for the four positions represented by USACA on the CHA board, but the selection of Varadarajan is remarkable from the standpoint that he ran against Dainty for the position of USACA President in the 2008 election in which Dainty defeated him by a narrow three-vote margin. It had been rumored that Varadarajan would run for the same position in this year's election as well and his appointment to the CHA board has already had an effect on regional elections.

Varadarajan was nominated and expected to win the role of North West Region representative on the USACA board of directors, but in a USACA press release sent out on Tuesday announcing election results for the newly formed North West and South West region boards, his name was withdrawn from consideration for that position. The press release also stated that Nina Ahmad, the wife of Dr. Asif Ahmad, was also withdrawn as a nominee for the position of South West Region representative on the USACA board.

There is no known requirement stipulating that Varadarajan or anyone else cannot hold positions on both the USACA and CHA boards at the same time, especially considering the fact that Thickett and Dainty will be serving on each board. Thickett, who ran on the same ticket with Varadarajan in the 2008 election, is pleased to have him on the CHA board.

Peter Della Penna is a journalist based in New Jersey