USACA, the ACF and the ICC

I won’t rehash the bizarre, embarrassing and frankly not entirely unexpected events that took place during USACA’s recent T20 tournament. But here’s a few links. (H/t Jamie Harrison.)

What the farce of a tournament actually means for the future of the game in America is of course unclear at this point, but a well-oiled, successful tournament would surely have helped USACA’s chances for survival despite recent finger wagging from the ICC, so the fiasco that happened down in Florida this past weekend should have the opposite affect.

Meanwhile, USACA’s competitor, the American Cricket Federation, had itself a great couple of weeks. They drafted a new constitution that not only ensured the democratic election of leaders, but also is rather groundbreaking when it comes to cricket body governance. They added two more leagues to their growing ranks. They were granted tax-exempt status. And they released an annual report that showed the whole of the cricketing world all the really great things they are doing, as opposed to all the corruption and farce on display at USACA HQ.

Now, full disclosure, I know Jamie Harrison – the CEO of the ACF – I have worked with him, for him and have been paid to write articles for his website. And so while that may negate all of this, I say with all confidence that the only way – the only way – for cricket to move forward in the United States is through the ACF. All that USACA offers is dead ends. And so if the ICC truly wants to see the game thrive in America, then their choice is clear: stop turning a blind eye to USACA’s ineptitude and – simultaneously – offer financial assistance to the ACF so they can continue their work and, in time, become the official governing body of American cricket.

I have talked to ACF league managers, administrators and players, and all to a man expressed similar sentiments and confidence in the future of the game in the hands of the ACF.

The choice for the ICC is clear.

But now the ICC will ask itself: do we really want the game to grow in America?

Now, of course, to us, the answer is yes. Why wouldn’t they? We are a country that loves sport – that would fall in love with the game if given a proper national team that competes on the biggest international stages. We are a nation of immigrants that long for the game to move into the mainstream, so there is more cricket not just on our TVs, but in our schoolyards, our stadiums and our parks.

But I don’t think the ICC wants that. I think they have finally have power consolidated as they want it, and opening up the doors to another potential cricketing power is just not something I can image them doing – even if that ascent to power would take generations. Look at the way they treat Ireland and other burgeoning, successful associates, and you cannot help but feel pessimistic when it comes to the chances of cricket in America.

Furthermore, would the ICC want to welcome a federation with such a forward thinking and progressive and democratic constitution? Of course not. That would, for lack of a better phrase, poison ICC’s well of corruption and greed.

The ACF might in the best interests of cricket and cricket in America, but they are not in the best interest of the ICC.

And so that’s why, despite all the evidence to the contrary, I feel that the ICC will continue – for the foreseeable future – to support USACA, leaving the ACF out in the wilderness.

The silver lining here is that the ACF is doing a lot of good out there in the wilderness. From youth cricket to a successful, national championship. Let’s hope they keep it up no matter what happens.

**

Yes, I am biased here. I know that. But I truly believe that Jamie Harrison and his team are the best people for the job of making cricket a success in America.

Unfortunately, that’s not something I think the ICC wants.

I for one hope I am dead wrong.

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3 Responses to USACA, the ACF and the ICC

  1. roboh says:

    You are not alone!

  2. KenLBlack says:

    Discovered your blog after receiving mention in the latest Wisden. (Congrats!) As a native-born American who is a fan of cricket, I have read with dismay all of the articles published by Cricinfo over the years that outlined the shambles that American cricket is in courtesy of the USACA. Years ago, I thought “surely, this would change.” Indeed, it has not. Not only does the ICC seem uninterested in developing cricket in the US, so does the USACA. We can only hope things will get better, but it may not be in our lifetimes.

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