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December 4, 2007
The ongoing drama that is the USA Cricket Association shows no sign of ending despite the hope expressed by Chris Dehring, the independent third party appointed to try to find a solution to the imbroglio.
Last Friday (November 30) Dehring wrote to stakeholders to advise them that after months of negotiations the new constitution had been released for ratification. He said: "I recommend this new constitution to you as a solid foundation to take US cricket forward."
But those hopes might come to nothing after a scathing attack on the new constitution by Atul Rai, the man who preceded Gladstone Dainty as the USACA president.
In a letter to Dehring which has been circulated to all stakeholder clubs, Rai wrote: "I am thoroughly disappointed with the outcome of the six-month process, to say the least. I have examined the document that has been posted on the USACA website and I am shocked to see that the final version of the draft constitution is almost the same as what Dainty tried to force down everyone's throats back in January. There are several areas in the constitution that remain unchanged despite your assurance to me that the new document was going to reflect the changes as agreed upon by both parties at your meetings."
Rai claims that the constitution will allow Dainty to in effect control the balance of the board. He also accuses him of creating new leagues which are "either completely non existent or they are just a bunch of guys playing cricket on a long weekend" to further boost his support. "Isn't it ironic that these duly constituted leagues that have been in existence for a long time are not allowed to be part of the process while some bogus leagues are listed as legitimate member leagues?" he wrote. "Despite repeated requests to investigate this matter, no action has been taken.
"Dainty called the shots every step of the way, whether it be by delaying things or by intimidation. The entire process of ratification of the constitution and the elections should have been conducted by an independent auditor. Without the independent auditor, a majority of the stakeholders in America, including myself, have no faith in the process and plenty of precious time and effort by many individuals has been wasted."
Rai, who is a major voice for the influential Council of League Presidents, concluded with a call to reject the constitution and "to find alternatives to USACA so that the future of USA cricket does not continue to hang in balance while the ... inept administrators of USACA dwindle away precious time trying to build their own power houses".
The letter will be a blow to Dehring, who has worked hard to broker a solution, but there are strong concerns in many areas that Dainty has been allowed to establish a position where his faction will contain control of the USACA.
While critics of the board are vocal, the USACA continues to maintain the virtual silence which has been a hallmark of their administration for several years.
The result of the election is due to be announced on December 27.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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