Change in ICC rules could open door for ACF
On Tuesday the ICC circulated a confidential document to its members asking them to approve changes to the ICC's associate and affiliate membership criteria. The result of these changes could well lead to the American Cricket Federation taking over from USACA as the ICC recognised governing body in the USA.
The change, discussed at annual conference in June 2014, and by the development and governance review committees later in the year and endorsed by the ICC Board in November, relates to section 3.1 of the membership criteria which requires members to be the "sole recognized governing body for cricket in the country".
It is proposed that the word "sole" be deleted from the criterion. Where there is no government agency or regulation to indicate which is the official governing body for a sport, it will be at the ICC discretion to decide in the event of any dispute.
The ICC placed USACA "on notice" at the annual conference for a breach of the old criterion. With the change applying to current associate & affiliate members as well as new ones, that "on notice" situation would, one assumes, be lifted.
It could well be that this will give ICC a reason to continue to support USACA now that they would no longer be in breach of ICC membership criteria.
However it now paves the way for them to possibly recognise the ACF as the governing body for cricket in the USA instead of USACA. The document states that when deciding which of two competing bodies - if any - to recognise that they will look at, amongst other things, "the appropriate status, structure, recognition, membership and competence".
This could well explain why ACF CEO Jamie Harrison recently sent an open letter to the remaining USACA league presidents encouraging them to leave USACA and join ACF. In the letter he states "once USACA is mostly depopulated, the ICC will then be free to recognize the new American reality. I know this because they've told me so."
This change in membership criteria would certainly suggest that is the case. Whether ACF could simply take over USACA's associate membership and keep the USA in their current World Cricket League and regional divisions remains to be seen though, and ACF may have to start from the bottom as an affiliate member.
Whatever happens though, as we head towards the fiftieth anniversary of USACA's ICC membership in July, the ongoing drama of US cricket is certainly far from over.