ICC allows for rival Associate boards
The ICC have sent out a document to Associates and Affiliates as the first step to amending the rules which will allow the Associate and Affiliates to have more than a single governing body and giving the ICC the power to decide which one to recognise. All members have been requested to respond to the resolution by January 22.
Approval of such a move would have the greatest impact on the ongoing dispute between the USA Cricket Association and the American Cricket Federation.
USACA had appeared set for a third suspension in a decade after it was put on notice in June for being in violation of Associate & Affiliate governance statute 3.1 which currently states that members must have a single, recognised cricket board. Member countries put on notice have one year to get their affairs in order, but should this resolution pass USA are less likely to be suspended.
Avoiding the ban would allow USACA to have national team representation at ICC events in the immediate future, including the World T20 Qualifier to be played in Ireland and Scotland this summer. However, USACA would not be completely in the clear if the resolution gets approved.
Through statute 3.1, which is to be amended, the ICC recognises a member board if it can provide a letter of support from their country's National Olympic Committee. USACA and ACF are understood to have been pursuing that letter over the last 18 months from the USOC, but neither group has obtained it. In its absence, another change in language for statute 3.1 would give ICC the authority to determine which of multiple boards receives recognition in a country where a dispute between competing boards arises.
According to the proposed changes, it is the ICC that would have final say over "the appropriate status, structure, recognition, membership and competence to be recognised by the ICC (at its absolute discretion) as the governing body responsible for the administration, management and development of cricket in the country."
The ICC had felt the language of statute 3.1 "might cause some difficulties for Members, where the 'sole' governing body could be challenged if an alternative body existed in the same jurisdiction and sought also to claim governing body status."
So they have circulated a document to its members for a review of the language. The document also emphasises that, "For the avoidance of doubt, there can only be one ICC Member from any individual country, and in the event of a dispute, the ICC retains absolute discretion to determine which body (if any) to recognise as the sole ICC Member in that country."
The ICC's procedures also allow for a review of a cricket board's status as an Associate Member "at any time either by their Regional development manager or the ICC Global development manager."
ESPNcricinfo contacted the ICC to find out if Americas regional development manager Ben Kavenagh or Global development manager Tim Anderson intend to make a review for USA's status, but a request for comment went unreturned.
A USACA source indicated that they would discuss their stance on the proposed revisions at a board meeting next week. Meanwhile, American Cricket Federation chief executive Jamie Harrison has sent out a letter to various members of the US cricket community in which he encourages players and leagues to abandon USACA in favor of the ACF.
"The ICC will not intervene in USACA's internal affairs, so long as they seem (on the surface) to line up with constitutional requirements," Harrison wrote. "You can stay with USACA and continue to exhaust yourself, fighting with people who have always treated you like dirt; or, you can come help us build a better future together for American cricket - today."
Should the boards agree on the amendment of the statute there is also the potential for Switzerland's readmission into the ICC fold. The Swiss Cricket Association was suspended in 2011 and then expelled from in 2012 after a rival governing body was formed, putting it in violation of statute 3.1 as it stands now.