Cricket Canada statement on Under-19 World Cup
Cricket Canada media release
Over the past several days statements have been made by third parties commenting on Cricket Canada's decision with respect to the 2012 U19 Cricket World Cup. Unfortunately, some of these statements are incorrect and on behalf of the organization I wish to correct these statements.
The decision to accept the invitation to host this event was taken at the 2007 AGM held in Toronto. The delegates at that AGM passed a resolution for Cricket Canada to carry out a feasibility study prior to proceeding with the event. The mandate of Cricket Canada was to proceed with the event only after sufficient resources had been successfully arranged. The concern was based on the past experience of the 2001 ICC Trophy, held in Toronto.
Cricket Canada (Canadian Cricket Association as at that time), suffered massive losses due to high infrastructure costs. The last of the debts incurred on this tournament was retired in early 2008. Canadian Cricket has suffered immensely due to this debt as it has hampered development and progress.
Part of this debt was incurred to install turf wickets for this tournament. The turf wickets were paid for by Canadian Cricket Association and not as stated by some by the International Cricket Council (ICC). ICC does not support the building of legacy items such as grounds and pavilions, as they consider these to be the responsibility of the host board.
Cricket Canada pursued several options of funding this event that included discussions with municipalities and governments. A thorough analysis of the cost/benefit analysis was done and the logistics were evaluated and considered. ICC representatives visited Canada in September 2009 and a report was made available to us that dealt with current ground conditions at the proposed venues.
The re-surfacing of the pitches and the levelling of the outfields were the items that had longer lead times. The time between the end of the season in 2009 and the beginning of 2010 was very critical for the outfields repair. We were advised that re-levelling will require de-commissioning of the grounds for a minimum of one year if sod was to be used and 2 years if it was to be seeded. Some of the grounds are not acceptable for international cricket at the level of World Cup and as such needed some re-work. Much of our cricket is played in public parks and many municipalities don't have proper cricket infrastructure knowledge and/or policies in place.
Most of the grounds and infrastructure that was under consideration are used by Toronto & District Cricket Association (TDCA). In order to de-commission these grounds and get them ready for the U19 World Cup, alternate grounds would have to be found for use by TDCA. Cricket Canada included funding for the pitches in the new grounds that would have to be created in order to deal with this challenge. Without providing alternate grounds to TDCA this work couldn't have been completed as this would have effectively shut down the largest cricket league in North America.
The role of the City of Toronto and Brampton was exemplary and cooperative. However the budgeting process and the sanctioning of the repairs take their own time. Since Cricket Canada did not have its own resources to pay for the upgrades and repairs, we had to lobby the government for funding to complete the upgrades. Cricket Canada has set aside money to resurface pitches, a process that will continue on this year, however the development of new grounds and larger infrastructure items were beyond our associations resources.
After the report from the ICC became available at the end of September 2009, a lengthy budget process was completed based upon estimates and ICC requirements. Provisions for hardware such as rollers, sight screens, covers and scoreboards were made. Provisions to build two new pavilions and the upgrade of Sunnybrook Park and one other facility were also considered along with permanent seating in one of the grounds. The goal of this was to not only host a world class event that all Canadians would be proud of but also leave a lasting legacy of grounds that would enable Canada to host top level international cricket for years to come.
Cricket Canada was required to make its decision known to ICC by the first week in February 2010 to coincide with the ICC Board meeting. After discussions with the ICC and some of our friends in the full member countries we were granted an extension. The April 15th, 2010 date was proposed by us as we knew that following this date we would not have time to complete the preparations if no funding was in place.
Requests for a meeting and presentation to the governments were made starting 20th October 2009. Cricket Canada held two preliminary meetings with the government officials and a final meeting with Hon. Mr. Lunn took place in March 2010. We were received warmly and our request was expedited. While our funding request was finally rejected, we wish to thank the government and especially the Minister of State for Sports, Mr. Gary Lunn for giving us a very compassionate hearing and valuable time on a short notice. We also wish to acknowledge that there is willingness on part of the government and the officials in the Ministry of Sports to help Cricket.
Cricket Canada held its AGM in Calgary from March 19 thru 21st 2010. At this meeting the delegates received a detailed report and were advised that April 15, 2010 was deadline that needed to be honoured to maintain good relationship and credible reputation with the ICC. Any new host requires a proper time to make arrangements and planning. Any further delay would have been detrimental to Cricket Canada interests in the long run as our odds of hosting the event would have been diminished by this date had we not received the funding. None of the provincial directors objected to this plan.
The funding rejection is due to the current funding policies. Since cricket is still not a part of the multi sport events such as Olympics, it is not a priority under the current rules. It is sad that such a popular game with large numbers does not receive support that it deserves while several other sports with less membership are funded appropriately.
In complete harmony with the character of the nation, the right approach is to have the funding policy amended or other alternatives need to be found to support a game that is being played in several thousand schools in Canada and is one of the fastest growing sports in the country. Cricket Canada will work in a cooperative manner with all levels of the government to make sure that Cricket receives its due respect.
Soon after informing the ICC that we would not be able to host the event, we were praised by the ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat, as he stated “.We are grateful to Cricket Canada for making what we recognize will have been a very difficult decision but their realistic and responsible approach allows ICC the time to find a suitable alternative venue…". We also would like to thank the ICC for their assistance and cooperation in making this decision.
On behalf of the entire organisation, I wish to thank all volunteers that have contributed to the growth of the game in Canada. Cricket Canada will proudly carry the Canadian flag to the next World Cup in 2011 (for the third time). Regardless whether we receive funding support from the government in the near future, we are committed to promote the game of cricket in Canada and Canada's name in the Cricket World.