USA cricket September 5, 2011

Dainty again in the spotlight

As has so often been the case in the last few years, the USA Cricket Association continues to be mired in internal bickering and controversy

The rumbling discontent within US cricket about the way the USA Cricket Association is being run continues to grow with reports that a number of its board members are at odds with Gladstone Dainty, USACA's president, over the way he is operating.

Dainty has been a controversial figure for a number of years, and it was on his watch that the USA was twice suspended from international cricket because of what the then ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed labelled its "dysfunctional" operation.

Through active and crafty politicking Dainty has managed to remain in office when his track record would have appeared to have fatally damaged his standing. He has often relied on a small group of associates on the USACA board to support him, but now he is again under attack.

Critics point out that Dainty has failed to hold a face-to-face board meeting since November 2010. Since then, Don Lockerbie, the CEO, has been removed from office and in eight months a replacement has not been sought. Dainty, it is argued, has made no attempt to encourage the search for a new CEO, surprisingly at a time when USACA is seeking to attract lucrative commercial deals and real funding, not to mention the rebuilding of a very tarnished image in the domestic and international cricketing communities. The argument is that the lack of a successor for Lockerbie allows Dainty to proceed unchecked.

Board elections, constitutionally due to be held in March of this year, have been delayed until October 15 and there are fears they may not even happen then. And most recently, Dainty has ordered election results in the Atlantic region be frozen, with critics claiming the reason is that one of his long-standing supporters is likely to be voted out of office.

Last week, one board member expressed concerns that Dainty would try to use the constitution to remain in power, and within days USACA announced that eight leagues may not be allowed to vote because of technicalities. Many of those on the sidelines have seen it all before.

Some board members are pushing for a face-to-face board meeting on September 17, and have more than enough support to impact a quorum of the board, but Dainty has refused to agree to that date, even though it is believed that the meeting was requested by USACA's executive secretary, John Aaron.

"We are all being painted by the general public, with one broad brush and labelled dysfunctional and incompetent," one of his opponents on the board said. "That's because our fight is not being seen on the outside. Dainty's ability to continue demonstrating such a dictatorial style of governance is helped by the few who are afraid of his wrath, that they are too weak to join the few who are strong-willed enough to stand up to him."

While in the past there has been little at stake other than some internal politics, there is now the prospect of large amounts of foreign money pouring into the USA from media deals, making control of USACA increasingly important.

The international community remains wary of a Dainty-controlled board, but he is a survivor and one that many have tried without success to unseat. His lack of accountability continues to deter many - both at home and abroad - from dealing with US cricket. It is crying out for slick and transparent leadership and, at present, it has neither.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa