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Indianapolis cancels cricket championship

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The city of Indianapolis said late Friday afternoon that it has canceled plans to host the USA Cricket Association's national championship in August because communication with the association has "deteriorated" and the organization has stopped looking for sponsors and partnerships.

"This lack of communication has resulted in numerous setbacks which, based on our experience having hosted numerous world-class events, the city recognizes as detrimental to an event of the quality deserving of cricket and the city," John W. Williams, director of the Department of Parks & Recreation, said in a letter to the association's board.

The flagging communication stems from USA Cricket Association's failure to name a replacement for CEO Darren Beazley, the letter said. The organization hasn't provided information on lead-up tournaments that determine regional representatives, which are intended to provide marketing for the national tournament, the letter said. Moreover, weekly conference calls between the organization and the city have ceased, as have conversations between the parties about seeking sponsors and partnerships.

IBJ reported early this month the event was in peril.

The association and city in September signed the agreement to host the championship here. The city planned to showcase the gathering at its new, $6 million World Sports Park on Post Road.

The championship on Aug. 21-24 was to have been followed by association events in Indianapolis in 2015 and 2016.

USA Cricket has been rocked with turmoil since Beazley, who championed the Indianapolis event, resigned in March over the board's reluctance to reform the group's governance.

The Dubai-based International Cricket Council is set to vote in June whether USACA should be suspended as an affiliate organization. If suspended, USACA would lose out on about $400,000 annually the ICC funnels into the Florida-based organization.

“Without the money from the ICC, I just don’t know how USACA is sustainable,” said Jamie Harrison, CEO of the rival American Cricket Federation, told IBJ this month.

Under ICC rules, membership is dependent upon a board's proving it is the sole recognized governing body for cricket in the country. More than half of U.S. cricket leagues have spurned USACA and joined ACF.

Mayor Greg Ballard revealed during a trade mission to India in April 2013 that Indianapolis was looking to host the U.S. Cricketing Championship in the summer or fall of 2014. That announcement made international as well as local news.

Despite some criticism, Ballard gained endorsements for his endeavor from Indiana Sports Corp. President Allison Melangton, Visit Indy CEO Leonard Hoops and a big segment of the business community, including the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, Eli Lilly and Co., Roche and Dow AgroSciences.

But last summer, some City-County Council members began raising concerns about USACA’s stability. Some of those concerns have been borne out.

Several USACA vendors told IBJ this spring they haven’t been paid by the organization in six to 10 months. A source tied to the ICC said “Beazley’s departure was the final straw.”

“Darren Beazley was their only hope for stability,” said one USACA vendor. “He was their only hope to gain credibility in the American marketplace, and they ran him off after 14 months. They haven’t been able to keep a chief executive for more than two years because they’re so dysfunctional.”

It’s difficult to say what has caused instability in recent years in USACA, which was founded in 1965. Several cricket insiders pointed to the board's makeup and lack of athlete representation. Beazley had recommended a governance overhaul for the organization, but board members rebuffed him.

Harrison, of the American Cricket Federation, said earlier this month that even if the event in Indianapolis could be pulled off, it wouldn't be a true national championship due to USACA’s erosion.

“We now have twice as many leagues that belong to our organization as USACA has,” Harrison said. “We represent 10,000 [players] in the U.S. We’re coming together and stepping into the void.”

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  • WHY...WHY
    Will someone tell me WHY we are building a "World Class Cricket Stadium" with taxpayer money? WHY..WHY..WHY Will no one stop this insanity
  • Let's Do Something That Helps the City
    Cricket, lacrosse, Gaelic sports? Yes, all international sports. But, Indy needs sports facilities that its young people can relate to and readily use. More parks with more structured and adult-supervised programs and activities will do much more long term good for this city than some gaggle of cricket fans. Where is the vision for the city? Certainly not anywhere in the mayor's office.
  • SHOCKER OF SHOCKERS
    So our formerly world-class symphony has to subsist on table scraps from the city while our $6 million cricket stadium hosts...well...mostly crickets. So the city spends $6 million for us to listen to crickets and $175,000 a year for what used to be a world-class ensemble that is now nothing more than part-time community orchestra subsisting on Pops shows and a month of Christmas pageantry. Good show, Indy. No wonder we're losing the culture wars to cities like Pittsburgh that somehow manage to be better sports towns AND better cultural towns and thus, indeed, better cities. I don't want to hear one more word from the jock sniffers in this town about Super Bowls and Cricket and the such. Fix our roads. Fix our schools. And please, save our symphony and other cultural/arts organizations that are the true measure of who Indy is as a city and Indiana is as a state. So long Super Bowl. So long cricket. Don't let the door hit you in the Ballard.
  • Another LOL
    While I am a Republican who voted for Melina Kennedy, I've been OK with Mr. Mayor. But this Cricket idea has always been useless.
  • To Susan
    Thank you, Susan for the hilarious suggestion of throwing cheese down a hill. I can't stop laughing. What about throwing watermelon off the roof and if we come up with one more, it could be a triathalon.
  • USACA
    The real issue is that the USACA has been in trouble for several years. There is not another city in the USA that would have built cricket fields for the USACA once they did the proper research that a $6 million investment should have warranted. Why was there not the proper due diligence done before the city spent $6 million dollars on a cricket field. The Mayor played us, so he could build another shrine to himself. Yes, parks, playing fields, etc. are nice but that $6 million dollars should have been spent on more pressing projects. If Indy does not start to focus on it's crime issue, conventions will go elsewhere, sporting event will go elsewhere, and one of the major income sources for the city will take a hit. Convention planners and sports promoters demand that their participants be safe. If the Mayor had made this decision in the business world he would be fired today for his poor decision making process.
  • Make Lemonade with Soccer Tournament
    The city should turn lemons into lemonade by setting aside the days for the cricket tournament for a city open soccer tournament. Let people bring their own teams and play for the city championship.
  • Idea #2486
    Note to self: Idea #2486. "Cornhole Tourney Field. That'll sell in Hoosier-ville." (Pats self on back.)
  • @stuart sound familiar?
    Subject: RE: Global Sports Complex Good morning Councilor. Thanks for sharing your opinion. Improving parks infrastructure seems to be an appropriate use of the funds. At the end of the project, we end up with first class athletic fields that can be used for many activities including soccer, lacrosse and other games that require fields. The design does not preclude any use including cricket or Gaelic sports. In the worst case scenario, we end up with a beautiful, multi-functional recreational facility on the east side of the city that can be used by young and old. It could also become a regional center for emerging sports like cricket and draw thousands of people to our community in the future. http://advanceindiana.blogspot.com/2013/05/board-of-public-works-scheduled-to.html
  • LOL NOT
    @Marshall - While we aren't Detroit or Cleveland, we aren't that far behind. FBI ranking of most dangerous cities (violent crimes per 100,000 people) for cities with a population of 100,000 or more: 2009 - Indy #28 2010 - Indy #29 2011 - Indy #22 2012 - Indy #20 Preliminary January-June 2013 data show Indianapolis in the top 20 again, with the sixth highest violent crime rate for cities with a population greater than 500,000 people.
  • It's the World Sports Park
    Look, I am no fan of Mayor Marine, and I would not have invested $6 million into this particular park property. Having said that, the money was at least invested into Indy Parks and not one of Ballard's developer buddies, but IT'S NOT A CRICKET STADIUM. It's the World Sports Park, and it's a group of several MULTI-PURPOSE fields that are designed to be used for rugby, lacrosse, field hockey, Australian Rules Football, Gaelic football, hurling and probably ultimate frisbee for all I know. This investment has been made, it's a great facility, and it's time to stop whining about it and go host some viable events there.
  • LOL
    I'm no fan of the cricket field investment, but some of you people are just plain nuts. Cleveland or Detroit? Smoke another bowl of hyperbole, won't ya?
  • Around here?
    This idea to host a cricket championship is laughable but around here is ridiculous. Cricket in Indiana??? Why not host a big round of cheese that in the UK somewhere they toss it down a very steep hill and people then try and get to the bottom before the cheese does. We could do that in Brown County down one of the hills. HA!!!
  • Hmmm.
    It really isn't all that bad six or seven million, a couple people got new wells for their homes and lets not forget those construction jobs. This is just one more bad deal Ballard has made we should be use to it by now he's become good at playing politics. He cries that he needs more money for police but he already raised taxes for that and failed to deliver the money spent on this project was for roads originally, Indianapolis failed when they elected Ballard he's not a republican in my book. When you give billionaires money they do not deserve or need then your just playing favorites that's what liberals do best
  • Like Detroit
    Evan, that's the point. Mayor Ballard is leading us down the same path as Detroit. Detroit also heavily subsidized professional sports EXACTLY like Indianapolis is doing. Look at how much he is giving the Pacers, the Colts and for this Cricket Stadium. He also supported building a new soccer stadium at public expense. Mayor Ballard is a huge liberal, big spending, big tax borrowing, big taxing politician. He may claim to be a Republican but he is one in name only. He's certainly not a conservative.
  • Headline News
    Why is this not the headline story in IBJ and the Star? It is really bid deal.
  • Ballard
    Do you not realize Indianapolis IS becoming like Cleveland and Detroit under Ballard. This boondoggle was another classic blunder by him. Time to go. Remember, he barely won the last election. Had the Dems run anyone competent he would have lost.
  • LOL
    Ballard and Leadership should not be spoken in the same paragraph....no volume
  • Ca ching
    And how much TAX money did we spend on a "world class Cricket field? ???????
  • Wonder why Democrats cant win the Mayor's office
    Look no further than the constant whining and crying they do. Want to win office Democrats? Start offering solutions and stop being a bunch of whiny crybabies. Oh and for the uninformed people spewing out Litebox. The state lost NOTHING to Litebox so try again.
  • Litebox Redux
    This reminds me of the lack of vetting and serious thought that went into the Litebox and parking meter deals.
  • Right on, Urban Dweller
    LOL - Urban Dweller had the same thought at the same time. Beat me by one minute.
  • Hmmm...
    Never saw that one coming, Charlie Brown.
  • Calamity
    Indianapolis cancels cricket championship... all 7 local fans inconsolable.
  • Mad
    Another example of shoot from the hip Ballard. This concept was flawed from the start just like the parking meter lease and other deals. This also ticks off the 17 Indianapolis cricket fans.
    • $$$
      This has been a complete joke from the very start. Shame on Mayor Ballard for spending over $6 million on this sham, when the money could have been used to fix our decrepit roads.

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