Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Possible Suspension of USA Cricket Association May Doom Indianapolis' Hosting of National Cricket Tournament

As the cost of building the World Sports Park (i.e. Ballard's Cricket Park) appears to be rising from $6 million to $8 million, the City's plan to host the four day 2014 USA Cricket Association National Men's Cricket Tournament beginning on Saturday, August 23, 2014 appears to be increasingly in doubt.  The dysfunctional USACA appears to be on the verge of being suspended by the governing international body.  ESPN CricInfo reports:
The American Cricket Federation has submitted a formal request to the ICC to recognise the ACF as a governing body for cricket in the United States in a strategic move that ACF chief executive Jamie Harrison admits may cause the ICC to suspend the USA's Associate membership for the third time in a decade. Harrison says that another suspension will allow USA to clean up its own domestic structure.

"What we're asking is for the ICC to acknowledge that there are multiple governing bodies in the United States, which is undeniable, and then to apply its own rules and constitution to that situation," Harrison told ESPNcricinfo on Wednesday. "If you read the ICC rules and look at the immediate precedent of what happened in Switzerland, the ICC has no wriggle room here." 

According to the ICC guidelines for Associate Membership, "members must satisfy that they are the sole recognised governing body for cricket in the country".... Previous battles waged in the USA between unrecognised governing bodies and the USA Cricket Association resulted in a pair of ICC suspensions but reconciliations were eventually achieved to allow USA to be readmitted into the ICC fold. Harrison has no intention for that this time around. 

"There will be no merger," Harrison said. "We're not giving an inch. We're going to see that out to the end. We're not talking to USACA, and we're prepared for what comes down the road." 

The ACF announced on Wednesday that the Commonwealth Cricket League, the largest league in America with 72 teams competing in New York City, had become the newest ACF member. It's another dent to USACA, particularly in light of their 2012 tax return revealing $3 million in debt and membership fees that were down 47% from 2011 to 2012. Harrison says that USACA's "toxic brand" makes them incapable of recovering and that they're holding back cricket in the country from developing. If the ICC recognises the ACF, Harrison believes it will open the door for American cricket to regenerate. 

Days earlier, ESPN cricket writer Peter Della Penna wrote another article looking at USACA's finances that should be a warning to Indianapolis about doing business with USACA:
New light has been shed on the USA Cricket Association's financial status with the revelation that the organisation was more than $3 million in debt at the end of the 2012 financial year, a 59% rise in debt compared to 2011. One of the major contributing factors to the mounting debt was a series of legal battles that resulted in more than half a million dollars paid to the board's defence lawyers in 2012. 


In the wake of the disenfranchisement of two-thirds of the member leagues ahead of the 2012 election, USACA has repeatedly claimed that the 32 leagues that were stripped of voting rights, due to not being "members in good standing", were still officially members. On its website, USACA states that as of 2012 it has 51 member leagues. The evidence in the 2012 tax return contradicts that. Membership dues in 2012 totaled just $68,959, down 47% from the $128,816 that USACA received in similar payments in 2011. It also means that USACA spent almost 10 times more on legal fees than they received in membership revenue in 2012.

Spending on domestic competitions, used to prepare and evaluate players for the national team, also dipped sharply. USACA spent $112,505 on domestic tournaments in 2010, the last year that full-fledged national U-15, U-19, men's and women's championships were held. That figure dropped to $76,000 in 2011 and was down to $46,487 in 2012 when USACA's only domestic championship was a single 50-over match between Eastern and Western Conference teams in Florida that November. 

USACA's total debt went from $1,899,368 at the end of 2011 to $3,023,280 in 2012. The USA national team's on-field activity was cut in half from six ICC tournaments to three, resulting in a dip in tournament costs from $640,050 to $364,010 from 2011 to 2012. Development spending stayed somewhat steady, dipping only slightly from $72,985 to $68,522 from 2011 to 2012.


Had Enough Indy? said...

Since we apparently have unlimited funds for such nonsense, why doesn't Indy float a bond to pay of the cricket association's debt?

Pete Boggs said...

A 25% increase on top of fee & tax increases? We don't need Republican tax increases any more than we "need" the Democrat version. This is wrong way policy.

Unknown said...

Why doesn't the Indy Eleven soccer team use the cricket fields for their new home stadium? Seems to make sense to me.

Rob K said...

Wait, they've only booked 4 days? So they only plan to play half of a game?