USA news June 14, 2013

ICC apologises for US funding foul-up

The ICC has apologised to the United States Youth Cricket Association (USYCA) after withdrawing a payment of more than $8000 accidentally made to the volunteer body.

In an embarrassing episode, a wire transfer of a little more than $8100 had to be returned to the ICC Americas headquarters in Toronto this week after it was revealed to have been intended for the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA).

"An administrative error resulted in funds from the ICC Americas regional office, meant for the USA Cricket Association (USACA), being sent to the USYCA," an ICC spokesman said. "USACA is the governing body for cricket, and the ICC's Member, in the United States. ICC Americas has apologised to both the USYCA and USACA for this confusion, which is now being rectified."

The mix-up had momentarily left the USYCA's president Jamie Harrison hopeful of a more constructive and mutually beneficial relationship between his association and the ICC, but he was left discontented when Ben Kavenagh, ICC Americas Regional Development Manager, requested the money be returned.

"I was excited that the ICC had sent us $8100," Harrison told ESPNcricinfo. "But the money itself isn't a big deal - they shovel $300,000 a year into USACA, and $8000 even in our budget isn't a make-or-break kind of thing. To me what was more exciting was the thought that the ICC wanted to get involved in cricket development in the United States.

"Now I've got notification from the ICC that that money was destined for USACA and they wanted their money back. That was disturbing not from the money perspective, it was disturbing as I thought there was going to be a partner to work with us to develop cricket in the United States."

The USYCA was formed by Harrison in 2010 with the intention of making a more vigorous effort to grow the game in the US, and has since reached around 250,000 school students. The association has distributed more than 1,500 cricket sets to schools across the country. However Harrison said he had found his efforts to push the game at the grassroots level had not corresponded to the way he feels the ICC sees the US - primarily as an extra marketplace for the current Full Member countries.

"USYCA on the other hand, our purpose in life is to turn the United States into a cricket playing nation, to raise up a generation of cricketers who will one day play on the international stage." said Harrison.

For their part, the ICC and USACA have stressed their desire to develop the game in the US.

"As part of its global development strategy, the sustainable growth and improvement of domestic participation programmes in emerging cricket nations is a key priority of the ICC," the ICC spokesman said. "This focus has resulted in participation numbers in ICC's Associate and Affiliate Members increasing from 500,000 to over 900,000 since 2010."

"This strategic objective is shared by USACA, who together with ICC, has recently committed resources to the implementation of a joint participation programme pilot in the US. This pilot project will commence in the coming months, with further information about it to be released in due course."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here