American Cricket Federation Board Meeting
Somerset, NJ: The American Cricket Federation (ACF) held its first meeting and election of officers of its Board over the past weekend, in Somerset, NJ. This structure replaces the former Steering Committee that was dissolved according to the ACF Constitution, following the widely acclaimed elections in December.
With 13 of the 15 recently elected members of the Board and the organization’s Advisory & Judicial Committee (A&JC) in attendance, the meeting’s focus was to elect its administrative officers and chart the organization’s goals and priorities, as the basis for providing a way forward for cricket in the USA. Those in attendance represented a geographical and diverse cross section of cricket stakeholders in the USA from California in the West through Missouri, and New York in the East. In addition, it is the first time in the history of USA cricket that women are represented at the administrative level of a national cricket body. Durga Das, Sandra Ibarra, and Priya Singh represent the interests of women and youth cricketers on the ACF body.
The Board elected Jagan Jagannathan, Chairman, Avinash Varma, Vice Chairman, John Aaron, Secretary, and Mike Thomas, Treasurer. Other members of the ACF Board include Ernie Precious, Shahid Ahmed, Avinash Gaje and Masaood Yunus, as Members-at-Large. The officers and members of the Board bring a tremendous wealth of cricket and administrative experience to the organization. The Advisory & Judiciary Committee (A&JC) of the ACF elected Jatin Patel as Chairman with Sandra Ibarra as Secretary. Other members of the A&JC include Priya Singh, Shantha Suraweera, Durga Das, Vijay Panneerselvam and Vishal Durvasula.
ACF Board Directors have staggered term limits of service in office. Zonal Directors (Varma, Precious, Ahmed and Yunus) serve for a maximum of two years each. Service of At-Large Directors was defined as Chairman Jagannathan (one year), while Gaje, Secretary Aaron and Treasurer Thomas, will serve for two, three and four years respectively.
In a review of 2013 events, the Chairman of the Board highlighted progress that exceeded initial expectations towards the ACF Vision for governance and support of cricket in the USA. This included:
• Consummation precisely on the constitutional timetable of fair and democratic elections across a uniquely wide American cricket electorate
• A higher and faster growth than expected of membership to 191 across all organizational, player, age, gender and fan constituencies in the USA
• That 84% of total ACF expenditure in the year represented a direct plow-back in grants and sponsorship of USA cricket tournaments, clinics and competitions openly across all constituencies, including men’s, women’s and youth cricket
• The remarkable unanimity amongst the membership, global correspondents and ACF’s volunteer network, as to the problems facing US cricket and the solutions
• The pace of benefits and initiatives underway, particularly under the recent stewardship of CEO Jamie Harrison
Commented Chairman Jagannathan, “That so much can be accomplished in so short a time bears witness to the near-universal desire amongst USA cricketers to be represented by an apolitical, altruistic management that is dedicated to their needs, their goals and their development. We shall strive in 2014 to continue to unify USA cricket toward these simple goals.”
ACF’s Chief Executive Officer Jamie Harrison said, “It was very exciting spending the weekend with such high-quality individuals from across the USA, who are very dedicated to making cricket an American sport at all levels,” adding, “It was also very satisfying working with them as they shared their vision for the future, and watching that vision unanimously convert to concrete plans that can now be implemented.
2014 is going to be a watershed year for cricket in the United States, and it’s reassuring to know that the American game is in such good hands. During the sessions, I saw how important it is to have strong women, youth, and soft ball advocates among our leadership, as they made sure that not only were these issues discussed, but also that decisions were being made in those critical areas.”
Beyond the election of officers of the Board, the meeting identified the vital areas of cricket development and pledged to work towards its improvement, and in keeping with the organization’s democratic platform of transparency, accountability, and embracing all genres of cricket for all Americans.
A number of policy statements were agreed upon at the meeting including anti-corruption and non-exclusivity. Statements on these will be posted on the ACF’s web site shortly. A joint session of the Board and the A&JC discussed and drafted a tentative Calendar of Cricket Activities for 2014 including the North American Cricket Championship™, the American Cricket Champions League™, the ACF National Championship Tournament™, and a National Soft Ball Cricket Championship. Task forces were assigned the development of women and youth cricket initiatives. In addition, as resources allow the ACF resolved to support women’s and youth cricket tournaments already in the pipeline.
The ACF Board is currently accepting nominations for the appointment of an Independent Director per its constitution. The individual is expected to be named at the conclusion of a search and interview process within the next 30 days.
Reactions from some newly elected members of the ACF
Ernie Precious, who came to the USA 33 years ago from Yorkshire, England, and is a member of the British Officers Cricket Club of Philadelphia and an At-large member of the ACF Board, said, “I thoroughly enjoyed the meeting this past weekend. There was a good exchange of ideas. I believe the single most important issue that we talked about was the realization of the potential of the soft ball cricket leagues, that has not been recognized thus far.“
Jatin Patel, an ACF Development Cricket Representative and Chair of the A&JC stated, “I am excited to be part of the ACF team with the vision to revamp USA cricket, and the willingness to work with almost everyone out there in all forms and levels of cricket. The quality of leaders with the expertise and experience is expected to make a huge difference within the next few years. Overall it’s time to expand cricket and I look forward to working toward the improvement and development of the game.
Priya Singh said, “The two-day meeting covered a number of areas within which ACF will govern and help to move the game forward in the USA.” The ACF Development Representative and A&JC member who support those positions, added, “It was really a great pleasure meeting and getting to know everyone. The Board members showed their trust and friendship towards each other, and a commitment to work as a team to help ACF succeed. I would like to thank the ACF for entrusting me with the responsibility of Youth Development. I look forward to working with all leagues and clubs in making this happen.“
For more information on ACF visit www.americancricketfederation.org