MLC steps in with last-minute offer
With five days to go before the deadline expires for all parties in the US cricket disputes to jointly resolve their disputes and present a mutually agreed team to the ICC for the Americas Under-19 and the Intercontinental Cup tournaments, Major League Cricket Inc (MLC) has stepped forward with an 11th-hour proposal ensure that a representative team from the USA will be allowed to participate in the Americas U-19 tournament in Canada in August 2005.
In its letter addressed to the US Council of League Presidents (CLP) and the USA Cricket Association (USACA), MLC notes that "...in the likely event of these matters not being resolved by July 8, the question is what to do with all the U-19 cricketers in the USA who will be denied an opportunity to play with their peers in Canada."
To resolve the situation in a timely fashion, MLC is offering its services as a "temporary USA contact and coordinator" whose main function will be "to work with the CLP, USACA and all other US- based parties to come up with a representative U-19 team from the USA that will be acceptable to ICC and the Americas Under-19 tournament committee."
MLC states in its letter that its offer is being made "with full respect towards, and without prejudice to, any of the parties or issues involved in the USA cricket disputes." The letter explicitly states that MLC is "fully prepared to relinquish its role as USA contact and coordinator ...as soon as agreement is reached between all parties on an appropriate procedure for conducting [future] US team selections." MLC says that "[it] is aware of the complex issues underlying all the disputes in US cricket, and would like nothing better than to see these matters resolved by direct dialogue and open communication." Its offer is intended to keep US cricket in the international arena while the issues in US cricket are being resolved by all parties, and is intended in the spirit of US cricket.
It would clearly be in the interests of both CLP and USACA to accept MLC's offer, since it would allow them more time to work out their differences and still enable the U-19 youngsters from the USA to participate in their Americas tournament. How the ICC will react is not clear at this point, but if CLP and USACA do not have any objections to the MLC proposal, MLC's offer would fall within the guidelines set down by Malcolm Speed and there is reason to hope that ICC will allow a USA team to play in the Americas U-19 tournament under these circumstances.
Deb K Das is Cricinfo's correspondent in the USA