ICC mistakenly give donation to right organisation
It's a story from the "you couldn't make it up" file. The ICC accidentally giving $8000 in funding to an organisation, but then asking for the money back as they meant to give it to a different organisation with an acronym that differs by just one letter.
Jamie Harrison, President of the United States Youth Cricket Association (USYCA) has recently been critical of the ICC's involvement with cricket in the USA, and so was pleasantly surprised on Monday to receive a completely unsolicited donation of $8000 to USYCA.
In a statement on the USYCA website, Harrison said, "I have recently been critical of the ICC's lack of interest in genuine American cricket development, and I must admit that this investment in the USA, this single act of vision and courage, though it may seem insignificant compared to the funding given others, has caused me to rethink my position, or to at least consider that the ICC is capable of growth."
"I want to personally thank the ICC for this gift and applaud its leadership for this noble statement of commitment to cricket in the United States. USYCA looks forward to participating in this new future of grass-roots co-operation with the ICC."
However, his hopes were short lived when, three days later, ICC Americas Regional Development Manager Ben Kavenagh asked for the money back, saying that the funds were "incorrectly given". Harrison issued the following statement on the USYCA website:
"It is unfortunate that the ICC, which found itself on the precipice of doing good for cricket in America, has instead found itself unable to do so. In context of my earlier comments in relation to appropriate oversight of US cricket management, it now appears that I was naive in thinking that the ICC had at last understood the right thing to do in America. In my innocence, I still hope that altruistic service might one day be the hallmark of the game in the United States, though I recognize that recent history is not in our favor."
"I apologize to all those whose hopes I inadvertently raised by thinking that the ICC had at last decided to support American youth cricket. I take full responsibility for the misunderstanding, and remain hopeful that one day the international governing body will join our mission to build a brighter future for American cricket."
Harrison later confirmed on Twitter that the money was actually intended for the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA), an organisation that hardly has a good reputation for supporting development, unlike the excellent reputation of USYCA.
The ICC, which originally received many plaudits when the donation was announced on Monday, received a barrage of criticism for the decision to request the return of the funding from a variety of people across the cricketing world, including former Australian international Damien Martyn. Cricket writer Jarrod Kimber even went so far as to say the ICC were "taking money from children".
The USYCA has also seen a surge in donations as people seek to play their own part, however small, in making up for the withdrawn donation.
When it comes to supporting development of cricket in the USA, there is no doubt that the USYCA are the right organisation for the ICC to be funding. Instead, they're giving more money to the always incompetent USACA. Given that USACA still face ever mounting legal fees, the ICC may as well have set $8000 on fire.
If the ICC wants to support real development of cricket in the USA, they'd do well to fund USYCA. But that's a big if - as many have said, their commitment to development of cricket in the USA is highly suspect.