USA news June 22, 2017

USACA expelled by the ICC


After 52 years as the ICC's member governing body in the USA, the USA Cricket Association (USACA) was expelled following a unanimous vote at the ICC's board meeting on Thursday during the AGM in London. The expulsion ends a turbulent tenure that included three suspensions handed down by the ICC since 2005. While USACA was able to get its affairs in order to have the first two suspensions lifted, there was no way back from its most recent reprimand in 2015.

"We would hope that this puts a final line on the matter," ICC chief executive David Richardson said when asked about USACA's expulsion in a conference call with reporters following the vote on Thursday. "Whether they decide to take legal action is obviously their decision but we would be ready to oppose it if need be."

USACA had threatened to take the ICC to court in the event of being expelled but Richardson says the ICC has proven it is standing on firm ground and does not expect the decision to be overturned by any legal challenge USACA might attempt. USACA president Gladstone Dainty and executive secretary Sankar Renganathan did not respond to ESPNcricinfo's requests for comment on the expulsion.

"Don't forget they've already taken the matter to the ICC Dispute Resolution Committee on an expedited basis attempting to stop the board and full council from considering the expulsion of USACA at these meetings," Richardson said. "The arbitrator found in favor of the ICC and found the ICC had acted rationally and was quite entitled to take the decision to expel USACA."

An ICC Americas-led caretaker administration has been overseeing cricket operations in the USA since USACA's suspension in 2015 and Richardson said they would continue to organise national team activities in the interim until the ICC approves a different governing body to replace USACA. A USA women's squad was announced earlier this week to tour Scotland for a T20 Qualifier, reaffirming Richardson's stance, since 2015, that USA's players should not be punished as a consequence of USACA's troubles.

"The whole process, from suspending USACA to expelling them, the whole objective was to unite the cricket community in the United States behind a national governing body that represented everybody," Richardson said. "So the first step will be creating the governance infrastructure to fill that void and represent the whole cricket community bearing in mind the size of the country.

"Coming with that will be the competition structures that need to exist, the development pathway, everything that a national governing body needs to get involved in. Over the next 12 months, that will be developed slowly but surely. At the same time [that USACA has been expelled], up until now the board has taken the approach that we don't want to prejudice people playing cricket in the United States. So at the moment we have got an American office and within that office we have staff tasked with looking after the cricket community to ensure that at least the minimum is done to keep cricket going."

USACA had faced numerous problems in recent years, mainly to do with governance. The board also struggled to escape from crushing debt, currently listed at more than $4 million, though a large chunk of that came about as a result of exorbitant legal fees racked up from court battles waged by the board, including one relating to the disputed general elections of 2012. The money owed to lawyers ate into the organisation's ability to fund national team activities, with various national camps and tournaments either postponed or canceled as a result.

The USA Cricket Association had been suspended three times since 2005 under president Gladstone Dainty © Peter Della Penna

But the final straw leading to expulsion was USACA's refusal to ratify an ICC-approved constitution, one aimed at curing governance woes by way of proposed term limits for board members as well as redefined positions on the board to reduce the powers of the incumbent executive. Instead, USACA ratified an alternate, edited version at a special general meeting on April 8, escalating the battle with the ICC before it reached its tipping point on Thursday. Richardson had sent a letter to USACA's leadership following the vote at the April 8 AGM, warning them that the decision to ratify an altered version of what the ICC had presented to them 'seriously undermined' their chances of having suspension lifted.

USACA's path to expulsion was set in motion more than five years ago during the events leading into the disputed 2012 general election. Based on the results of a member compliance audit, the incumbent USACA board took the decision to disenfranchise 32 out of 47 voting-eligible league members in highly controversial circumstances. Many of the league presidents who were disenfranchised had publicly voiced opposition to USACA president Gladstone Dainty in a conference call several months prior to the election, which Dainty and most of the incumbent board eventually won in a landslide.

However, it proved to be a pyrrhic victory for Dainty and the rest of the board because the majority of the disenfranchised leagues broke off to form the American Cricket Federation rather than pursue reinstatement with USACA. Under the ICC membership guidelines at the time, a member needed to be the "sole governing body" for administering cricket in their country. If more than two governing bodies existed with both claiming to have superiority, it could be seen as a violation of the statute and grounds to have membership status suspended. In fact, this particular scenario was a contributing factor to USACA's first suspension in 2005.

The ICC initially aided USACA by amending the wording of the Associate membership statute 3.1. Rather than the "sole" governing body being the ICC's member in a given country, the ICC would recognise the governing body - at the ICC's own discretion - that is "responsible for the administration, management and development of cricket in the country." The ICC subsequently encouraged ACF leagues to rejoin USACA in an effort to mend fences.

But ACF leadership spurned this approach and though a Dainty-led board won re-election again in 2015, the victory was short-lived as the ICC suspended USACA later that summer. An ICC report, which was presented to the world body's members ahead of the suspension vote at the 2015 ICC annual conference, laid out numerous flaws with USACA. Among them, the ICC found that USACA did not represent the majority of clubs and leagues around the country and that the general consensus of stakeholders found USACA 'unprofessional and not trustworthy'.

The ICC subsequently laid out 39 terms and conditions for USACA to be reinstated. USACA was able to meet many of the requirements, but the main sticking point was the new constitution. The ICC has since formed a series of advisory groups in four key areas to help design the framework for a successful governance model in the future. It is expected these advisory groups will continue to work with ICC Americas staff until a governing body is designated to fill the vacancy left by USACA, a process expected to take a minimum of one to two years.

Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent. @PeterDellaPenna

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Hemant on June 26, 2017, 13:50 GMT

    It will be difficult to promote cricket in the US. Only way mainstream America can participate is by introducing the game in schools. After speaking to many schools and school boards in the Indus region dominated bay area, I was told by all that cricket comes 11th in line of sports offerings in the schools. In the sequence of popularity, Soccer, Baseball/softbalk Basketball, Football, Roller blade Hockey, Tennis, Swimming and Atheletics/Gymnastic are priorities. After sponsoribg above 10, if any budget remains, Cricket may get soem chance. And the choice is made by parents/kids. Does not matter how much money ICC puts in or how well governed the board is.

  • Tim on June 23, 2017, 17:23 GMT

    Well, we got out the rot but now cones the harder task of rebuilding. One thing is absolutely certain: the voice of mainstream Americans better be part of any new governing body otherwise USA cricket will remain as it always has: an insignificant, unapproable, ethnic sport just played for foreigners. At least one (preferably more) of these new independent directors had better be a mainstream (i.e., not from a cricket background) American.

  • zsbacc4362534 on June 23, 2017, 17:23 GMT

    Expel Canada also! Cricket will not go anywhere in these countries. Only immigrants play it and the rest of people are just totally confused about it and they call it a "silly, stupid sport". I have heard it many times.

  • Harsha on June 23, 2017, 12:45 GMT

    I live in America and can say there was usa huge and great opportunity to promote cricket in USA. Only asians living here knows fully about the game but every local who happens to cross paths withacricket game gets so curious and wonder why no big promotions are happening in USA? Best way to star with including T20 in to olympics. Also T20 would be ideal way to start the game in USA.

  • Gopalakrishna on June 23, 2017, 7:18 GMT

    Management means Managing Men Tactfully. The last letter in the word Management stands for tactfulness. The parties concerned did not handle the matter tactfully and the result was evident- a failed management Gopal

  • Anil on June 23, 2017, 2:15 GMT

    ICC should focus on teams comprising of locals like Nepal, PNG, Scotland and Namibia. It is a waste of time and money to promote cricket in USA, UAE and Oman. You will hardly find locals getting involved int he game, mostly Asian expats would be playing and watching the game.

  • Jay on June 22, 2017, 20:49 GMT

    Americans will never get into cricket. They don't want it, they don't need it. They have enough quality sporting past time in baseball, basketball, NFL, NHL etc. Time for ICC to invest into other deserving nations like Kenya, Uganda, Nepal, Scotland, Papua New Guinea etc.

  • TyrantKoala on June 22, 2017, 18:34 GMT

    Cricket has a chance to grow in the USA. Just bring it into the olympics and the game will popularize just like soccer has.

  • Ramesh on June 22, 2017, 18:01 GMT

    To the guy who posted "Good riddance. ICC should look into American Cricket Federation (ACF) or create a new organization to ensure future of Cricket in USA. ". Nice try, I hope ICC does not commit the blunder of going through the same mess as USACA. What USA needs is a clean start, not another half effort and trying to get a 'jump' start by using an invalid similar org like USACA. Best to start a new org from scratch!

  • Adam on June 22, 2017, 17:48 GMT

    Cricket will never grow in USA. The sport is mainly played by expats from Asian countries. Most Americans don't even know anything about Cricket. They have their own sports (Football, Basketball etc), they follow. Stop wasting time there. Use that money and resource elsewhere.

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