CHALLC, March 02,2012: The newly-appointed Chief Executive Officer of Cricket Holdings America LLC (CHALLC) Keith Wyness believes the organisation’s foundations will help turn the dream of bringing world-class cricket to the United States of America (USA) into a reality. The dream has remained just that for many years despite the country being able to boast substantial interest in the sport. But Mr Wyness said the framework CHALLC has put in place will help ensure the venture will succeed where past efforts have failed.
“We have been able to look properly at getting the correct permissions,” he said. “We have involved the ICC (International Cricket Council) right from the start, we have got the Full Member involvement of New Zealand and we are working with USACA (the United States of America Cricket Association).
“So we have got it right in terms of the right pyramid of cricket authorities and that makes a fundamental difference to everything that has gone before.
“With that, we are able to sit back and plan properly and strategically to make sure we get
everything in the right place.”
CHALLC is a joint venture between New Zealand Cricket (NZC) and the USACA for the development of cricket within the USA. Mr Wyness, formerly the Chief Executive Officer of two Premier League football clubs, Everton in England and Aberdeen in Scotland, worked on the Sydney Olympic Games of 2000 and has more than a decade living and working in the USA. He will be responsible for the delivery of a business plan which will include the sale of Twenty20 franchises for a professional league set to begin next year.
“At present we are looking at a target date of starting games in the summer of 2013,” said Mr Wyness.
“We will certainly have lead-up events through 2012 and that will give us (the chance) to introduce the game and give people (the opportunity to get) more understanding of what we are trying to achieve.
“There are two goals here: firstly, we are looking to make sure the cricket opportunity is fully exploited in America in terms of bringing it to the general population and from that there will be development at the grass roots to eventually get more kids playing.
“Without a doubt Twenty20 is the format that is going to achieve most visibility and penetration in the USA – that is what we expect to happen. “However, we will also be supporting other forms of the game if there is a need and desire (for them) as we move forward.”
Mr Wyness played down suggestions that governance issues within the administration of the game within the USA could potentially hamper CHALLC’s attempts to develop the sport.
“There are always going to be debates and different points of view and I do not see anything unusual in that at this time of the lifecycle of a sport,” he said. “As we move forward with Cricket Holdings America and we can show there can be major penetration (of the game within the USA), those differing opinions will become things of the past and everyone is going to move forward towards getting the best interests of cricket promoted in the best possible way.”