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By Venu Palaparthi
After a process that has been decribed as contentious by some, USACA elected four representatives to the board of Cricket Holdings America (CHA) on April 29.
USACA, which owns 31% of CHA, is entitled to four representatives on the board of CHA. New Zealand Cricket and Insite together own 28% and Top Bloom and Podar Holding own the remaining 41%.
(L to R) Neil Maxwell of Insite; John Thickett and Gladstone Dainty, of USACA; Justin Vaughan of NZC and Rajiv Podar of Podar Enterprise at the conclusion of the signing agreement in December, 2010.
While the appointment of Gladstone Dainty and John Thickett was expected given their role in negotiating the deal with CHA, the election of Ram Varadarajan and Dr. Asif Ahmad is significant.
John Thickett told ESPNCricInfo last week: "One of the things I believe will be good for US cricket is actually bringing in people from outside USACA and broadening the roles of involvement of people outside of USACA who have a link to cricket and who can do a lot of good work." In an article that appeared on the USACA website, Gladstone Dainty called the election of Dr Asif Ahmad and Ram Varadarajan "a sign of the maturing of USACA cricket that it is appointing people from outside the game."
In an email to DreamCricket.com, Mr. Varadarajan wrote: "I appreciate the opportunity to serve on the board of CHA. The role is consistent with my commitment to provide a ladder for talented youth cricketers in the US and my experience with building profitable business ventures. As a board representative, I will look out for the best interest of the USA cricket community and development of cricket in America."
As we reported here on December 24, 2010, USACA is expected to get $2 Million annually in licensing fees from CHA during the first three years. In addiition, USACA is said to be in line for $3 Million in guaranteed share sales at the start.
Distributing the funds
USACA has planned a series of GoToMeeting.com web conferences to reach a consensus on how to distribute the money. "Strategically important decisions are being made and stakeholders can have a say in how to invest the money. If robust decisions are made it will make us a top associate member," said Thickett.
Kicking off a discussion on how the money should be spent, Thickett spoke of using the cash to fulfill "needs for a robust national operation and then wanting to give enough out for the regions and leagues." To this end, Thickett has proposed a 40-20-20-20 formula, which would allocate 40% to USACA national operations, 20% towards creating a long-term reserve fund, 20% to the regions and the remaining 20% to the leagues.
The first of the web conferences was held on May 10, 2011 for representatives of the North West Region. Hemant Buch, the newly elected NW Regional Director, was among the attendees. Speaking to DreamCricket.com, he said "The idea of the townhall style meeting is commendable and it is good to hear about the plans of [CHA] LLC. It is also good to have Mr. Dainty and Mr. Thickett interact with the leagues." However, Mr. Buch added, "I would have liked to see greater unanimity among the USACA board at such an important juncture."
The goals of setting aside 40% for national operations and allocating 20% for a rainy-day reserve are laudable. It is the distribution of the remaining 40% that must be carefully managed.
In order to produce results, the money should be used towards creating a solid and sustainable foundation, enhancing participation, rewarding performance and promoting excellence. Just as accomplishments on the field must be rewarded, initiatives off the field such as outreach efforts, infrastructural improvements, and good governance must be encouraged.
All of which means that USACA must first develop its capabilities to monitor and verify achievement of performance targets, review activities of leagues and non-leagues to ensure that they fall within USACA's mandate, and evaluate key governance indicators.
The web conferences offer the regions and the leagues a chance to speak up and shape the discourse. If good intentions are matched by actions, then USACA will have truly turned the corner.