CCA's tangled web
23 April 2005
Observers of Canadian cricket must surely be intrigued by the new commercial bent of the CCA's web site at http://www.canadiancricket.org. The site has previously restricted itself to publishing news and press releases of Canadian cricket, but recently appears to have expanded to a wider role - a somewhat unexpected, and perhaps inappropriate, change in direction.
A few weeks ago the CCA site started to follow our lead in linking to cricket stories on other sites. The first venture in this direction in January 2005.
The home page featured the following quote: "We have never seen a sporting organisation that combines such great potential and such poor administration as USACA. From our observations, much of the blame for this lies with the current office bearers of USACA including yourself. We question whether the current administration of USACA can play any constructive role in taking the game forward in the United States".
The quote was from a leaked ICC letter, featured within Deb Das' critique of US cricket for CricInfo. One can only imagine what our friends across the border thought about seeing this on the home page of the official web site of Canadian cricket. The USACA may have its faults, but it is still the body the CCA has to deal with on an official level.
In February, the CCA started re-producing stories from www.sharenews.com- something we've been doing for several years. Share is perhaps the only Canadian media that regularly covers cricket affairs, and Ron Fanfair's articles are informative. However it is somewhat odd for an official organization to distribute news via the means of a third party, and Share in the past has published articles highly critical of the CCA..
Most recently the CCA has taken upon itself to provide what we assume is free advertising to its friends.
Looking at the recent stories on the site we find the following:- "A travel package for the West Indies v Pakistan 1st Test" and "Local Online Cricket Service signs contract with BC's largest league"
The first item deals with a package offered by a travel agency - contact details are “Sandra Levy Internal Sales Administrator CoLoR Travel Services A Division of Uniglobe Plus Travel”. Certainly there are cricket fans in Canada who might be interested in this package, but it is hard to see what connection the West Indies- Pakistan test series, or Ms Levy, Color Travel or Uniglobe has with Canadian cricket. One hopes the CCA has at least made a little money from this.
It is easier to understand but harder to defend the presence of the second story. Cricket Star as most people know offer a comprehensive web based statistics set-up for cricket leagues, and it is no great surprise that the BC Mainland League would contract with them. It is at first sight puzzling why the CCA should feature a press release from a commercial organization on its web site, however. Reading the release in full should indicate to most why it is there.
It's been well over a year since the Canadian Cricket Association decided to move its web site from CricInfo to be hosted by CricketStar and its associate FP Consulting. The news release featured on the CCA website is signed for CricketStar by "Traddie Simpson, Manager, Sales and Marketing". Traddie Simpson is also the treasurer and formerly vice-president of the Canadian Cricket Association, with responsibility for the direction of the CCA's web site.
Whatever questions this might raise with regard to conflict of interest are not going to be explored here. Obviously Mr. Simpson is not trying to hide anything from the cricket public of Canada - the connection is there for all to see, and the CCA, to its credit, publishes its conflict of interest policy on its website.
What one does wonder however is what we should expect of the site in future. It would be good to see for instance some more information on the Victoria Day weekend - will the games be played on grass, will there be an admission charge, who will be playing? What about the rumoured Inter-Provincial tournament - featured on the Calgary league site but not mentioned by the CCA? How about a featured player other than John Davison- who has graced the front page of the CCA site for the last 12 months at least.
However one fears than unless covered by Share, we're unlikely to hear more. What's next? Perhaps we'll start hearing more about other CCA executive business interests - press releases from Ben Sennick's ventures in the plastics industry, or Howard Petrook's Bokke Enterprises CurbCaddy..
The author was volunteer CCA webmaster with CricInfo from 1996-2003, and was also formerly a director of CricInfo prior to its sale to Wisden.