USACA files lawsuit to stop CPL matches in Florida

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The USA Cricket Association (USACA) has filed a lawsuit in the 17th Judicial Circuit Court in Broward County, Florida, attempting to stop six Caribbean Premier League matches from being played in Lauderhill.

 

The matches were to be played at the Central Broward Regional Park from July 28 to 31 and the USACA argued that the CPL did not go through the proper sanctioning process to be able to stage games in the USA.

 

ESPNcricinfo had access to the court filings that were made on the afternoon of July 18, showing the defendents as Broward County, Broward County parks & recreation, CBRP parks and recreation manager Duncan Finch and Lauderhill Mayor Richard J Kaplan.

 

Along with USACA, the plaintiffs in the filings are listed as former USACA executive secretary Kenwyn Williams and current USACA vice-president Owen Grey. The court documents showed that Williams directly filed them with the 17th Circuit Court, listing himself as “Managing Director” of USACA. In a sworn affidavit included in the court filings, Williams claimed to have been managing director of USACA since March 2015 and that he reports directly to Grey.

 

However, the USACA has no formal paid or board position by that title and Williams is not listed as a current staff or board member on their website. Lawyers representing USACA had sent Williams a cease and desist notice last month after he threatened to sue Broward County over the CPL staging, claiming he did not represent the interest of USACA, which was suspended in 2015.

 

However, Grey and Williams have been longtime allies since Williams’ time on the USACA board in 2012. Grey offered his support to Williams last month after the cease and desist letter was sent to Williams and Grey’s status as a co-plaintiff in the case is an indication of conflict within the board. Grey has signed a sworn affidavit in support of the suit dated July 13 and included in the court documents.

 

Matches in this year's CPl are billed for the Central Broward Regional Park from July 28 to 31
Matches in this year’s CPL are billed for the Central Broward Regional Park from July 28 to 31

 

In the filings, Williams stated that USACA is seeking an emergency injunction to stop the matches, claiming that the board is the sanctioning authority for cricket in the USA and that the CPL had bypassed them to reach an agreement with Broward County.

 

Williams also argued that Broward County’s actions to partner with the CPL “tortuously interfere with USA Cricket’s prospective economic relationship, causing irreparable injury to petitioners’ revenue potential and reputation” and that the revenue is “desperately needed to promote and develop amateur cricket among its thousands of members.”

 

However, USACA’s sanctioning authority was stripped by the ICC in June 2015 under the terms of USACA’s administrative suspension.

 

As part of support documents in the court filings, Williams submitted a letter dated June 6, 2012, written by then ICC Americas regional development manager Martin Vieira, stating that the ICC “recognize USACA as the sole governing body for the sport in the United States of America and can confirm that they are in good standing and in compliance with all rules and regulations of the ICC.”

 

Vieira has since retired and been replaced by Ben Kavenagh and the letter predates USACA’s suspension by three years. While announcing the suspension, ICC chief executive Dave Richardson had labelled the USACA “unprofessional and not trustworthy”.

 

Also included in the documents was a letter written to CPL chief executive Damien O’Donohoe, attributed to ICC operations manager Clive Hitchcock, dated November 16, 2015, which claimed that “the CPL, as the event organizer, must apply for sanctioning/approval of the matches/event to be played in the USA” because USACA is the home governing body.

 

However, the letter also acknowledged USACA’s suspension and stated that “the final decision on whether to approve/sanction the matches will be taken by the ICC within two months of having received the application.”

 

ICC Americas and CPL officials declined to comment on the legal filings made by Williams, when contacted by ESPNcricinfo. Mayor Kaplan did respond, saying that he believed the matches would go ahead as planned and that Williams’ attempt to block the matches would be struck down.

 

“I am very confident that the injunction will fail and the games will proceed since USACA is not the sanctioning body for international games in the US,” Kaplan, who is also a practising lawyer, told ESPNcricinfo. “That authority is exclusively controlled by the ICC which authorised the games. This lawsuit demonstrates the problems that we have had trying to schedule international games within the US and I thank the ICC in taking the action that they have.” (ESPNCricinfo)

 

Cover photo caption: Six CPL matches are scheduled to be played at the Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Florida (CPL/Sportsfile)

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