Due to be finished by January December 6, 2004

US elections move slowly forward

The 2004 elections for the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) board, which have been in limbo for the past six months, may be taking place after all. With any luck, all proceedings are due to be completed by January 2005.

That they may be held at all must be considered a minor miracle. The International Cricket Council (ICC) may have something to do with it, because of its insistence that USACA get its house in order in order to discuss (and presumably benefit from) the revenues to be generated in the USA when ICC's Project USA gets under way next year.

Gladstone Dainty, the USACA's president, who accused the ICC of a "neo-colonialist" strategy, greeted the ICC's position with some bluster. But the warnings issued by Bobbie Refaie, the board's secretary, that time was running out for the USACA seem to have carried the day, and there has been some response (however muted) to Refaie's efforts to get the election process under way.

It is no easy matter to hold a national election for US cricket even in the best of times. The members of the USACA are cricket clubs who are supposed to vote every two years to elect directors for each of the eight regions comprising US cricket. Yet, of the 600 or more cricket clubs (with up to 15,000 participating players) that dot the US landscape, barely one-third belong to the USACA. So, a typical USACA election is as much a process of recruitment as of campaigning. An aspiring directorial candidate needs to make sure all cricket clubs supporting him in his region are enrolled and paid up, and are willing to support his candidacy.

Complicating the picture are USA's cricket leagues, some 30 in number, which organise the cricket events and tournaments that take place around the country. Those US cricket leagues whose clubs are USACA members elect a representative to the USACA board of directors, and presumably have their own independent voice in US cricket affairs. But no regional director of the USACA can afford to ignore the two to four US cricket leagues in their own regions, since they count on them for delivering the votes of their member clubs.

It is the USACA board of directors, which appoints the president, two vice-presidents and the secretary of the USACA. These appointments are supposed to take place every alternate year when the USACA elections are not held. According to this schedule, the current USACA executive is due to be re-elected in 2005, though when this will happen is a matter of considerable speculation.

The first two steps to be completed in holding the 2004 election, therefore, are: (1) publishing a list of member clubs that are eligible to vote in 2004, (2) appointing an independent auditor to send nomination ballots to eligible member clubs. Once the auditor certifies the results, the new board members can convene and set their agenda for 2005 through 2007.

The list of eligible member clubs as of the November 24 deadline date set by the USACA secretary has now been published, and is available on the USACA Web site. This was no mean accomplishment. There were any number of roadblocks and objections raised to the list, and there was evidence of foot-dragging on the part of many USACA leaders. But Refaie's insistence on discharging the responsibilities of his office carried the day, and the wheels are now in perceptible but steady motion.