Implications for associates after ICC meetings
The latest cycle of ICC meetings has seen a number of announcements that are of interest to the associate & affiliate world.
Any hopes that the 10 team World Cup would be changed have been dashed for the time being as it isn't mentioned at all in the press release, though it almost certainly was discussed at the meetings. ICC chairman Narayanaswami Srinivasan is quoted in the press release as saying the 2015 World Cup was the "most popular in history".
That of course begs the question, if it ain't broke, why fix it. The last part of the section of the press release that covers the World Cup says that "a more detailed report on all aspects of the ICC Cricket World Cup will be considered at the next ICC Board meeting in June." So any news about the 10 team World Cup isn't likely to come out until then.
Also deferred to June is a decision on the future of the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA). A leaked letter in February revealed that the ICC was threatening to suspend USACA "with immediate effect" if they were unable to satisfactorily respond to several requests for information.
USACA seems to have received something of a stay of execution for the time being, though they were always likely to, as decisions of this sort are usually made at the annual conference - set for June in Barbados. Suspension doesn't mean that they would cease to be an ICC member either. The standard procedure is for them to get another year to get their house in order before being expelled, in this case in 2016, if they are indeed suspended in June.
A "Task Force" headed by ICC Chief Executive Dave Richardson will travel to the USA before June in order to "meet relevant stakeholders in USA cricket". He will then provide a report at the annual conference meetings in June.
The rival governing body in the USA, the American Cricket Federation (ACF) has seen an upsurge in support in recent years. Their CEO Jamie Harrison had been leading a campaign on social media to attempt to get the ICC to "dump USACA". In a statement after the press release he said, "Today's decision by the ICC validates the ACF's long-standing position that all relevant stakeholders in the USA need to be heard. ACF welcomes this opportunity to sit across the table from representatives of the ICC and discuss with them the future of the game in America."
In news that isn't of the "deferred to June" variety, the ICC announced that Nepal would host the Under-19 World Cup Qualifier later this year. In a change to the previous qualifiers, which were 10 team affairs with six qualifying for the World Cup, this time the winners of the regional tournaments go straight to the World Cup - set for Bangladesh next year - to join the full members, whilst the five runners-up will play off for one final spot.
Three regions have already had their regional qualifiers. Afghanistan, Namibia and - surprisingly - Fiji qualified from the Asian, African and East Asia Pacific regions respectively, with Nepal, Uganda and Papua New Guinea being the runners-up. The European qualifier will be played in Jersey in July, with the Americas qualifier set for Canada the same month.
Also coming out of the meetings was confirmation that the Asian Cricket Council's development work will be taken over centrally by the ICC and run out of Dubai. The ACC will continue in some form, and it was announced that the Asia Cup will continue - with a qualifying process for associates & affiliates - from 2016, and is pencilled in every two years until 2022. The 2016 and 2020 editions are set to be Twenty20 events.