December 10, 2016
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ACF’s Position on ICC Proposed Constitution for USA Cricket

The American Cricket Federation (ACF) was founded in 2012, by a substantial and geographically diverse group of league presidents and passionate individuals, dedicated to creating fair, transparent, inclusive and democratic governance for US cricket.

ACF has reviewed the new Constitution for USA cricket, as proposed by the International Cricket Council (ICC), and we offer our considered opinion below on these and related topics, by way of guidance for our members.

Four very important aspects:

  1. The context of the current status of the game in the USA
  2. The qualities that ACF feel should be present in USA cricket management
  3. ACF’s review of the proposed draft constitution.
  4. The pursuit of unity

The Context

    • Decades of mismanagement, cronyism, insolvency and three consecutive suspensions by the ICC
    • Poor national teams, when spasmodically fielded
    • Failure to secure robust national sponsorship and infrastructure investment
    • Highly fragmented grassroots leagues with little, if any, regional support
    • No national momentum established in Youth, College or Women’s cricket
    • Descent of NGB governance to a global laughing stock, and lack of respect

Required Qualities

In 2012 ACF wrote its Constitution that was widely acclaimed as a model to support transparency, free and fair elections, inclusivity, and the democratic governance for USA cricket.

The Constitution provides for ACF enfranchised leagues, clubs and players to vote in representative elections, and text-book annual elections above reproach have been held to constitutional deadlines, since the adoption of the Constitution.

More than 85% of ACF’s revenue have been directly plowed back into USA cricket by event sponsorship and education that benefitted women’s and youth cricket, and ACF’s annual flagship Newbery American Cricket Champions League (NACCL) tournament.

The ACF recognizes the following as truisms needed for appropriate development of USA cricket:

    • Unity of purpose between geographies, types of cricket, leagues, clubs and other stakeholders.
    • An understanding that there are fundamental conflicts facing national development that require balancing. Specifically:
      • The size of market potential is matched by the size of cost hurdles to establish a foreign game in a country as huge as the USA
      • That the large scale of investment needed, broadly means TV revenues and/or large corporate sponsorship. These in turn need successful national and international teams to create a fan-base following that can be monetized
      • That the success of each Elite national team currently has to be generated from a small talent pool, within a non-existent and unstructured pathway, with very little regional support and infrastructure
      • That long-term success requires a grassroots priority of establishing a sustainable school, youth and women’s cricket structure, with regional support and infrastructure investment
    • A National Governing Body comprising competent Officers who have altruistic motives, are accountable for progress and are subject to adequate checks and balances to eliminate fraud and corruption
    • A harmonious relationship with the ICC as the global governing body
    • Effective, transparent and self-governing representation of all USA cricket constituencies

Review of the proposed draft USACA constitution

With certain reservations of detail, ACF supports the ICC initiative and contents of the recommended draft Constitution now under consideration. The decision to reform USACA from within, rather than replace it entirely, has inevitably created complexity. We are heartened though that many of the ACF Constitution’s checks and balances have been incorporated into the ICC’s proposed Constitution.

Our reservations include concerns about the approval process, short-term voting rights, a lack of pan-USA dialogue and the lack of definition for several key transitional provisions.

Specifically:

    • We would very much have preferred that the proposed constitution been subject to public review, certainly of all US stakeholders and not just ones associated with USACA, for a reasonable period of time so that any feedback could have been discussed and incorporated in due course. We strongly recommend that such period of time for requested feed-back and transparent resolution be offered, in order that US cricket can inclusively move forward in unity.
    • We are concerned at the lack of provision for the sign-up for new voting members, wherein the Interim Board composition will be voted on only by pre-existing USACA members. This surely must be addressed prior to the formal adoption of the Constitution
    • Of equal concern is the composition of the Board and the vaguely defined nature of the “vetting” criteria that will be applied to qualify Board applicants. We believe this aspect represents a crucial need for transparency
    • Unity would be greatly aided by publication of stringent qualitative and qualification criteria governing the transitional Board applicant eligibility. US cricket stakeholders need reassurance that the Board will be staffed only by those of the highest ability and integrity.
    • We think the NGB name should be changed as “USACA” is widely perceived as a toxic brand amongst players, sponsors and prior partners alike
    • We think the provisions of Article 20.1 which state “This Constitution shall be effective when adopted by the current USACA Membership; provided, however, that certain provisions will be implemented over time by the Interim Board of Directors, and subsequent Boards” should be specifically defined, so there is transparent understanding of which constitutional provisions have immediate force, and which do not

The Pursuit of Unity

At its fall 2015 Town Hall-styled meeting in Chicago, the ICC advocated the unification of the USA cricket constituencies and constitutional reform as one of the prerequisites for moving cricket forward in the USA. The ACF and other well-represented bodies present, endorsed such a spirited initiative. However, noticeably absent was USACA.

It is widely believed that the ICC stepped in, because of a lack of interest shown by USACA in responding to the ICC’s call for constitutional reform and unification.

The ICC’s recent moves to ensure the players are afforded opportunities to compete and represent the USA on the international stage has been welcomed by a majority of stakeholders, as is the vigorous attempt being made to resolve the governance issues facing USA cricket.

Such confidence in the national rebranding of the sport was most welcomed, and most importantly by the players. It was the start of the unification of American cricket, however, unification without good governance is both unlikely and unsustainable.

We would like to make clear the following opinions: –

    • The pursuit of unification must involve all voices, and the ACF believe so must the consensus adoption of the single most important document for good governance – a Constitution
    • The issue here is that the process of rapprochement and unity can only occur when there is a common philosophy to benefit USA cricket, and a common concept of service, not exploitation
    • ICC’s support of an NGB for USA cricket and USA cricket’s support of the ICC is fundamentally necessary to jump-start the scale of necessary financing and sponsorship required for any ambitious development plan, and consequent revenues. We specifically discount competitive interim offers by “for-profit” third-parties in this regard, until such opportunities can be routed through and considered by the newly constituted NGB
    • That said, USA cricket needs to be aware that ICC’s participation is not a passport for complacency, inactivity, or an absence of quality pro-active representatives serving on an NGB Board

Once the foregoing is perceived, and a fair, unequivocal NGB Constitution is enshrined and open for voting by all, we are confident that historic and enduring unity will be achieved.

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