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Interim Chairman Atul Rai: USA Cricket’s ICC funds suspended, employees and players fees in default

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USA Cricket members were alerted on Friday to the worrying current state of the national governing body in a letter from interim Chairman, Atul Rai. 

Atul Rai addressed the membership directly for the first time since taking over as interim Chairman of USA Cricket in mid August, with a letter spelling out the current position of the board. 

Most notably, Rai revealed that ICC payments to USA Cricket have been suspended for the 3rd quarter, thanks to failures by USA Cricket to provide the “Q2 Financial Report that was due at the end of June 2022,” along with the minutes of the elusive “2021 AGM”. 

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The letter also reveals that USA Cricket have not paid their employees or players for some time, and have “more than $200,000 of pending invoices” overdue.  

Rai goes on to challenge USA Cricket’s deal with American Cricket Enterprises, saying “Mr. Paraag Marathe, who was the chair then, informed the Board that this was a temporary agreement and that it was going to be fixed soon. Unfortunately, that never materialized. In April 2022, USA Cricket sent a notice to ACE asking clarifications on their investments and practices, and at this time, a long form agreement (LFA) is pending, and we will work towards a long form contract that is fair to USA Cricket and works for all parties.” 

In 2019, while serving in his first stint in the USA Cricket board, Rai was named, along with many others on the board, in a lawsuit filed by Jay Pandya’s American Cricket Premier League LLC, in an attempt by ACPL to stop ACE from starting Major League Cricket. The lawsuit was eventually thrown out

Here is Rai’s letter to members, unedited in full: 

Dear USA Cricket member,

It has been almost two months since the 2020 elections were finally completed and I was appointed as the interim chairman of USA Cricket Board. I am humbled by the mandate, and I am truly appreciative of the support I got from our cricket community. While I want to help bring about the change so desperately needed in the system, I am also trying to absorb the challenges that USA Cricket has thrown at me since taking on the new role. I believe that it is my moral obligation to bring some transparency to the situation in USA Cricket and to keep the stakeholders informed as we move forward.

Financial:

Soon after assuming the office, we were informed that the Q2 Financial report that was due at the end of June 2022, was never submitted!! In addition, the 2021 audited financial report that was also due on June 30th was not submitted despite several deadline extensions provided by ICC. The report also required the minutes of the 2021 AGM that was never conducted! You may recall that the 2020 AGM was held in May 2021!!

Consequently, ICC has suspended our 3rd quarter funding for noncompliance. I was surprised and disappointed to learn that USA Cricket has been missing the submission deadlines for quite some time now!!

The current cash flow situation of USA Cricket is critical, as we have defaulted on employee salaries and USA players’ salaries. In addition, there were more than $200K of pending invoices from previous non budgeted expenditure that was overdue, and we are planning for them to be paid, having paid a significant portion of it already.  Moving forward, the calendar and the budget will be published In January and there will be no expenses outside of the budget. We will look to balance budget for 2023 and launch multiple programs with decentralized structures to move the game forward

Mr. Kuljit Nijjar was appointed to oversee finances of USA Cricket replacing Suraj Viswanathan, who is no longer on the Board. Kuljit has been trying to gather data and work with various agencies to get the finances in order. We will work hard to have full accountability, to become fully compliant with ICC requirements and restore funding.

Organizational:

The 2022 AGM is scheduled to be held on Sunday, October 9th at 6PM EST/ 3PM PST. This will be an online meeting and I hope that majority of you will be able to log in. If you are not able to log in, we will have the recording available the following day on You Tube.

Meeting minutes will be updated prior to the AGM on our website. You can learn more at usacricket.org

The delayed 2021 elections will be completed with the election schedule planned for the year end. The reorganized Nominating and Governance committee shall soon convene and start the process of nominating qualified individuals for independent director positions as well as individual, League & Player director’s positions, on the Board, and elections will be held as per soon to be published schedule.

Our current membership registration has gone up to 16,000 as of September 15, which is the highest ever, thanks to your support! We are working on simplifying the member registration process as well as negotiating better insurance benefits, to provide value added membership benefits. I hope to meet our membership frequently via Zoom calls, and town hall meetings in various cities across the US.

Starting in January, we will be reorganizing the various committees and we will ensure broader representations to ensure diversity. Key committees such as the League Committee, Ethics & Grievance committee and Zonal Committees will be structured in time for the 2023 kick off.

We will work on a domestic calendar for men, women, and the youth, with a zonal structure for 2023 and we want to publish this early so that participants and staff can plan better and more efficiently. We want to recognize the volunteers who spend countless hours of personal time for Cricket. The only way to grow the game moving forward is by empowering the local and regional volunteer units and we are committed to implementing this in the New year.

Commercial:

You may be aware that USA Cricket had signed a short-term agreement with the Commercial partners, ACE, in April 2021. Mr. Paraag Marathe, who was the chair then, informed the Board that this was a temporary agreement and that it was going to be fixed soon. Unfortunately, that never materialized. In April 2022, USA Cricket sent a notice to ACE asking clarifications on their investments and practices, and at this time, a long form agreement (LFA) is pending, and we will work towards a long form contract that is fair to USA Cricket and works for all parties.

We are going to update our application process for sanctioning of domestic tournaments. This should be completed by January.

We have received multiple queries on CEO appointment and, until we bring back financial stability, and we are able to balance our budgets, we will not be able to move forward with any such appointments.

I have been engaging the ICC and Cricket West Indies (CWI), to start a dialogue on the broader engagement and partnership for USA Cricket, with regards to the 2024 world cup hosting. I strongly believe that USA Cricket should be the co-hosts for the World Cup, along with Cricket West Indies.

I am Looking forward to working with you, to build an organization that is inclusive, transparent, and self-sustainable and grow this wonderful game in the community

Sincerely

Atul

BK Atul Rai DDS             

Chair (Interim) USA Cricket

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Nate Hays
Nate Hays
Fielding All Rounder, played a lot of baseball. Born in Maryland, lives in North Carolina, not from a ‘cricketing nation'...yet!

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