A new national governing body for cricket in the USA took a step closer to fruition today with the formal approval of a new constitution for the sport – paving the way for historic elections in 2018. The Sustainable Foundation Advisory Group (SFAG), set up to unify the cricket community in the USA, has given the green light to a constitution that will see the election of a new Board, including three independent directors, of which one must be Chair.
USA Cricket has been established as an entity and the approval of the constitution, registered under Colorado State Law, provides the process under which the office bearers of the governing body can be elected and operate. USA Cricket will now focus on finalising a membership program reflective of the whole sport across the country, which will, in turn, be able to vote on the seven of the ten Board members. The details of the program will be announced shortly, with an opportunity to register for Membership in early 2018.
The ICC Americas Project USA team has undertaken a significant community consultation program over the last few months in which the constitution received only minor adjustments to that which the Sustainable Foundation Advisory Group had originally recommended. Any such changes are minor and are based either on feedback from the community consultations or as necessitated by Colorado State Law, where USA Cricket is based.
These changes include clarification on the residency requirements to vote and/or nominate for election; clarification that prospective directors cannot stand for more than one position in a given election process; a strengthening of the requisite percentage of membership (from 33% to 67%) required to propose a change to the Constitution; the constitution has been released to the public and is available here on the USA Cricket Website.
The new constitution highlights a new individual membership structure that allows USA Cricket to engage, communicate with and support the entire cricket community directly, including players, coaches, match officials, fans, and administrators; supplemented by organisational membership that continues league engagement and involvement but also provides the opportunity for membership of USA Cricket by all of the individual clubs across the USA; the country will be divided into three Conferences further split into six geographic ‘Zones’ (East, Mid-Atlantic, South, South-West, West, Midwest) with programs and services including unified and structured competitions, high performance camps and coach / umpire education being delivered in each Zone; new Board composition that is diverse, inclusive, engages and is representative of the entire cricket community, complies with the requirements of the US Olympic Committee, and establishes a focus on independence.
The new board will be made up of the following ten directors. These will include two Player Directors – one female and one male, to be elected by the International Players who have represented the U.S. senior team in any event, recognised or sanctioned by the ICC in the last ten years. This ensures the Board has female and male representation from those who have played the game at an elite level.
Three Independent Directors must have at least female. They must be completely independent of any cricket governance or administration for at least the last three years. This ensures a balance of constituent and non-constituent Directors, reduces the risk of divisive politics within the Board and enables USA Cricket to recruit skill sets and experiences that would not otherwise be represented on the Board.
Three other Individual Directors will be elected by the entire Individual Membership (other than the International Players), thereby introducing the prospect of every Individual Member across the country having the right to directly influence who should represent them on the Board.
One Club Director will be elected by all registered and eligible clubs, thereby introducing the prospect of every club across the country having the right to directly influence who should represent them on the Board.
One League Director will be elected by all registered and eligible leagues, thereby acknowledging the continuing need and importance of the Leagues as vital stakeholders in the structure moving forward, which is emphasized by the creation of a new Leagues Committee (reporting directly to the Board) which will contain representatives of the two biggest leagues in each of the six Zones across the country.
Independent Chair of the Board for the first three years will be elected by the Board from one of the three Independent Directors. This role will play a key part in the unification of the sport and the SFAG felt strongly that independence for the first three years would depoliticise the role and signal a fresh start, the ICC Board unanimously supported this view. It is proposed this restriction is lifted after three years.
Board Directors will have both term limits and staggered terms to ensure a good mix of fresh perspective and continuity of institutional knowledge. The governance model includes a Nominating and Governance Committee who will be responsible for vetting all Board candidates and recruiting and recommending the three Independent Directors for appointment by the Board.
There will be an Annual General Meeting where all members of USA Cricket will be invited to participate to both learn about the direction of the organisation and to provide input and feedback to the USA Cricket Board of Directors and staff. Engagement in the governance of USA Cricket by a wider group of individuals in the cricket community will be undertaken via five additional Standing Committees including; Cricket, Leagues, Finance and Commercial, Ethics, Grievance and Disciplinary and Audit, each of which would have a significant level of representation by players.
This follows on from the good progress already made with the launch of the USA Cricket brand and social media channels on 24 September and the website on 27 November designed as a focal point for communication to the cricket community in the United States.
Another important development has been the finalisation of a Terms of Reference for the Sustainable Foundation Advisory Group which outlines the body’s role in continuing to guide and support the establishment of a new national governing body in the USA that is capable of unifying all of the stakeholders of USA Cricket. A copy of the Terms of reference is available on the USA Cricket website here.
Patricia Whittaker a member of the Sustainable Foundation Advisory Group said: “This is a significant step forward in establishing a new national governing body and we are delighted to be in a position to approve a constitution that has the backing of the cricket community. It is the result of months of hard work, consultation and a willingness to do the right thing for the sport.”
Jagan Jagannathan, who is also a member of the Advisory Group said: “This is an excellent constitution that reflects the diversity and strength of the USA cricket community. Of course, cricket operates in a dynamic environment and we have built-in mechanisms that enable the constitution to evolve with the growth of the game in the USA under the leadership of the future directors and the membership”.
David Richardson, the ICC’s Chief Executive, welcomed the historic development and thanked the Sustainable Foundation Advisory Group for their work. “This is an extremely important development and I would like to thank the Advisory Group for their enormous contribution to the development of this Constitution. They have led a process that has been incredibly thorough and we think they have developed a best practice Constitution that gives the new national governing body in USA the best possible chance of success”.
The approval of the Constitution marks the first important step towards the election of Office Bearers for the new national governing body in the USA. Details of the membership program, and the election process itself – in which registered members will vote – will be released shortly.