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The International Cricket Council today called on the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) to resolve the current dispute over the administration of the sport in the USA and offered the ICC Disputes Resolution Committee process as a means of resolving the situation.
In a letter to the solicitors representing both parties in the dispute, ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed outlines the way in which this ICC process could be used by the parties.
"In June 2002, ICC established a Disputes Resolution Committee to resolve disputes. If the parties agree, ICC would be pleased to extend this process to USACA and will undertake to fast-track the process at the request of the parties. This would avoid costly litigation and provide a binding decision in a timely manner," wrote Mr Speed on behalf of the ICC.
The ICC Disputes Resolution Committee is an internal system for resolving disputes between parties within cricket through the appointment of an independent panel to hear and decide on the dispute. If the parties agree to use this process, the decision of the Committee would be final and binding. This process was established to provide a quicker, more cost effective and efficient way of resolving disputes rather than resorting to the courts or to a formal external arbitration process.
Mr Speed's letter advises the solicitors that the ICC is not able to determine who has been elected to the Board of the USACA and that the organisation appears dysfunctional.
"On the basis of the information that has been supplied to ICC following recent elections, ICC is unable to determine the duly elected members of the Board of Directors. According to our calculations, eight positions on the Board of Directors are undisputed. Two positions on the Board of Directors are disputed," says Mr Speed.
"Two groups of individuals each claim to have the support of six members of the Board of Directors. Each group claims to be in control of and entitled to run USACA. Communication between these two groups is now being carried out through their respective lawyers.
"ICC does not support one group in preference to the other group. The governance of USACA appears to have reached a level that is dysfunctional."
The letter urges a rapid resolution.
"In the next three months, there are several important events that will face USACA, not the least of which is fielding its best team in the ICC Trophy in Ireland to seek to qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup to be played in West Indies. Failure to qualify will be a significant blow to all cricket supporters in the USA," it says.
Mr Speed's letter also confirms that the ICC will be withholding the USACA's annual grant until the dispute is resolved.
"Until such time as ICC receives clear and unequivocal notification as to the composition of the Board of Directors, ICC does not propose to release any funding to USACA including the annual grant. Clear and unequivocal notification would take the form of a signed statement from all ten directors agreeing that they are each properly elected to the Board of Directors.
Mr Speed concludes his letter by calling on the factions within the USACA to resolve their differences as a matter of urgency in order to move the game forward.
"In summary, gentlemen, the current situation is untenable and unworkable. Could I respectfully request that common sense prevail and that you sort out your differences and notify ICC of the outcome as a matter of urgency."