A Fireside Chat With USA Cricket Stakeholders
October 29, 2011
Dear USA Cricket:
There is one question that needs to be answered. It goes something like this:
If Cricket Holdings America (CHA LLC) is a good opportunity for USA Cricket, shouldn’t we support Dainty and his Board no matter what we think of them?
An excellent question, indeed. Why don’t we pull up a chair and have a chat? And as America’s favorite detective would say: Just the facts, ma’am.
CHA LLC is a good opportunity for USA Cricket, but [and here is the big if], only if it is headed by the right people, making the right decisions and for the right reasons. Take a look at this current Board and its president, Gladstone Dainty, and their decisions in this past year alone. Reflect on the lack of transparency regarding the contentious appointments to the CHA LLC Board.
Also, reflect upon the recent [and only] Board meeting of this year that was held in Florida last week where cricinfo is reporting that a policeman was stationed outside the door to prevent anyone not on the “Gladstone Dainty Meeting” list from attending.
Now, let us look at the question once again: Are these the right people, making the right decisions, and for the right reasons?
The answer, I believe, is a resounding NO.
But friends, it goes beyond the record of this past year. Gladstone Dainty [current president] and Chik Masood [former president] have been a permanent fixture in the administration of USA Cricket going back to the 90s. Given the disasters, disappointments and disgrace [twice suspended by the ICC] that has befallen USA Cricket throughout their tenure, one must ask a simple question: Would these individuals be allowed to continue to head any organization [public or private]?
The real question that one needs to ask is not whether CHA LLC is good for USA Cricket, but whether the individuals currently involved in the administration of USA Cricket are capable of delivering on the potential benefits of CHA LLC? The best and perhaps the only way, to answer such a question is to see if there had been a similar opportunity in the past. And, if so, how was it handled by these two individuals?
There have, indeed, been similar opportunities in the past. As a matter of fact, there have been ones with even greater potential than CHA LLC. The initiative that I am talking about was one undertaken by the ICC called the Disney Project.
Could there be any opportunity greater than one undertaken by the ICC itself? Shouldn’t we have, therefore, grabbed such an opportunity with both hands? Instead the administration of Masood and Dainty dropped the ball [no pun intended].
Here is what reportedly happened.
In 1997 at a press conference in London, the ICC proudly announced the Disney Project. The Disney Project was for the ICC to build a cricket complex at Disney in Florida to host ODI games beginning in September 1998. The ICC also stated that the plans included the hosting of future World Cup games of the soon to be announced World Cup in the West Indies [referring at the time to the anticipated 2007 World Cup in the WI]. The monies from these games would go towards developing the game in the USA, said the ICC.
What a tremendous opportunity! Wouldn’t you agree? Why did it fail? Perhaps, we should ask then president, Chik Masood, and Board member, Gladstone Dainty. What was Dainty’s position on the Board? Reportedly, Dainty was the Treasurer, though the exact details are a bit fuzzy.
So what happened to this Disney Project?
Immediately after making the announcement, the ICC found itself faced with the threat of a lawsuit from the American company, Time Out. USACA, it seems, had conveniently neglected to tell the ICC that it had already sold exclusive media and marketing rights for international games in the USA to Time Out.
The ICC was shocked. How could USACA have done this to them? Was this true, the ICC wanted to know. USACA president, Chik Masood sent the ICC a letter acknowledging the “contractual obligations we have to our designated representative, Time Out Inc”
Cricinfo reporting on the matter: On the same day, July 9, a letter was received by Williams at Disney from Time Out's lawyers, Kornstein, Veisz and Wexler of New York. The threat of legal action against the ICC was extended to Disney "if the reported agreement is concluded on the current basis, i.e. without the due participation of Time Out, its exclusive media and marketing representative.
The Disney Project was believed to be the most ambitious ICC initiative for the growth of the game, and the ICC was determined to make it a success. With this in mind, then ICC Chief, Dave Richards immediately replied that the ICC were not party to the contract between the USACA and Time Out, that the threat of legal action was extremely unhelpful and that it should be withdrawn if the Disney cricket centre was to get off the ground.
In a final effort to try finding a solution out of this mess and keep the Disney Project alive, ICC’s Dave Richards flew into New York to meet USACA representatives (Masood, Dainty and Craig), and the Time Out lawyers. I was in the hotel lobby with a few other die-hard cricket enthusiasts anxiously awaiting a positive outcome. At the time, we did not know that USACA had signed a prior agreement with Time Out. Back in those days, we didn’t have the kind of media coverage as we do today. There was no ondriveupdate to bring you the good, the bad and the ugly of USA Cricket. I was writing, pro bono, for Cricket International, a weekly newspaper in New York back then.
At the meeting in New York, USACA’s partner, Time Out, refused to lift the legal threat. Time Out had allegedly committed $1 million dollars in the preliminary negotiations and was determined not to surrender its contractual rights. And why should they? After all, they did have a pre-existing agreement with USACA giving them full media and marketing rights. Unable to reach an agreement, Richards flew back to England with the understanding that unless the ICC terminated the Project, that Time Out intended to proceed with the law suit.
Thus ended the greatest opportunity to date for USA Cricket.
Which brings us back to the question: Why should we believe that the CHA LLC initiative has any more of a chance of success given the fact that the two main players are still there? Let us assume that both Dainty and Masood were innocent victims in this entire sordid affair. Then, perhaps, they lacked the financial acumen, the business nous if you will, to effectively operate at such a corporate level? Anyway you look at it, there seems to be only one conclusion - their record is a dismal failure.
Agree or disagree? You make up your mind.
It seems that most already have.
Thank you for joining me in this discussion. Stay tune for another discussion next week on the state of USA Cricket.
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Professionalizing the sport is definitely a blockbuster for cricket in the USA. We have in this country excellent potentials, young men who have demonstrated that they have what it takes to become stars. Look at the IPL in India. It has exposed so many young talents, the Pujaras, the Badrinauths, the Ashwins, that the Indian national selectors have a plethoria od talents from which to select the national squads. Just think ahead. If we have such a setting in this country, just imagine what it will do to our talented youths! Just imagine what growth our cricket would experience!
So, to answer the question; yes, CHA LLC is good for our cricket.
With regards to the lost opportuni ties: The Disney Project (1997) and Project USA, these were programs that would have definitely paid dividends to USA cricket. But, unfortunately the people governing USACA at the time, Mr. Dainty and Mr. Masood, being two of them, screwed up, royally.
Now a third opportunity has surfaced. Dainty is stiil on hand, now as the chief honcho, and he insisted in recognizing Chic Masood as the CER Rep although he was constitutionally replaced by that region. Dainty wants to have him around because that is an easy "yes" vote.
The fact is that the ICC have long identified the USA as a potential lucrative market which they want to develop (get developed) in order to garner some of the potential millions. Padar, Maxwell, and CNZ, have started the ball rolling. Whereas Masood and Dainty dropped the ball in the past, these folks now have it rolling! I feel that the ICC is behind these efforts that is why they are not taking any punitive actions against US ACA for violating its constitution in not holding elections
Correct is right Bobby. I did not forget Project USA...that's my next topic!!!!
I thought I was one of the few who knows most of the dark secrets about USACA's past, however I must admit that some concern cricket lovers in New York still remembers the Disney project.
I agree with Sham on most of the facts about Disney Project, however I think he was wrong when he said that was the biggest opportunity for USACA. If he remember, there was another better & bigger opportunity came USACA way in 2003 when ICC announce the "PROJECT USA" with a price tag of almost 40 million US dollars in three years for US cricket and once again we blow it. GUESS WHO WAS THE USACA PRESIDENT AT THAT TIME???
Nice job Sham. Check out Asif Hamad and GLACa and you will question why he got elected to Cricket holdings from a Winter league that doesn't play anymore.Meanwhile SCCa with 60 teams and 70 years has no say in such appointments. Scca bounced Asif when he tried to run locally. Dainty's requiremnt of 5 leagues per vote is a joke engineered from Chicago.
Thanks for your concern, you are very kind.
But honestly, if Ondriveupdate was to go silent tomorrow, it has already changed the landscape of USA Cricket forever. Never again will USA Cricket be kept in the dark, and it was ondriveupdate that struck the first blow that brought down the wall of silence behind which USA Cricket had always operated.
Sham, I never met you but be careful. These men are capable of anything my friend.
I didnt know Masood was president before. This is insane. After so many years why are they still involve?
Dr. Samaroo, what a brilliant brilliant piece. One day USA Cricket will thank you for your work.