Project USA takes on a strange new twist January 12, 2005

USACA handed $50,000 in ICC misunderstanding

The story of Project USA, which had been stalemated by the recalcitrance of the USA Cricket Association (USACA) to sign a memorandum of agreement (MOU) with the International Cricket Council, has taken on a new twist in recent weeks.

It now appears that the ICC advanced $50,000 to the USACA before it learned of the association's objections to a MOU. This money is securely lodged in USACA coffers, and there is little likelihood of its being returned. One wonders what the ICC must be feeling. Having paid out $50,000, it probably has no intention of supplying any more Project USA funds to USACA, but it has set a bad precedent by its advance payment.

The person who is undoubtedly most affected by the situation is the unfortunate Gary Hopkins, the Project USA CEO whose initial expenses were supposed to be covered by these funds. He faces the prospect of being left completely out of pocket if the present state of affairs continues, and what he can accomplish in the face of this situation is unknown at this time.

One cannot help wondering what possessed the ICC to advance Project USA money to the USACA without first making sure that an appropriate MOU was in place. Was the ICC completely oblivious to the doubts and reservations later expressed by Gladstone Dainty, the USACA's president? If it did intend to pursue an entirely independent course in US cricket with Project USA, why was it paying USACA $50,000 in advance?

The answers to such questions will not be known for a long time, if ever. If and when they are known, they ought to make interesting reading.