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Cricket Group Can’t Stop National Board Election

(CN) - The U.S. Cricket Association can hold board elections despite a challenge by a California chapter of the world's second most-popular sport, a federal judge ruled.

Ram Varadarajan and the California Cricket Academy filed suit last month, claiming that U.S. Cricket Association (USACA) postponed national elections beginning in 2007 without amending its constitution.

The association allegedly refused to hold its 2011 election until the leagues complied with a harsh audit that required them to disclose various records including lease agreements, meeting minutes and finance spreadsheets.

"Leagues scrambled to collect documents, but the Herculean task was impossible for many," according to the complaint.

This inspection disenfranchised more than two-thirds of the association's members, including California Cricket Academy, self-described as "perhaps the largest contributor to youth cricket - financially and logistically - in the United States," the suit states.

Varadarajan, a Cupertino resident, said the restrictions kept him from seeking the presidency of the national board.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh refused the academy's call to enjoin an election scheduled for April 14. Koh noted that Varadarajan, an aspiring candidate for president of the national board, lacked Article III standing as an official member of the association.

"The court agrees with USACA that Mr. Varadarajan has not clearly shown a legally protected interest, the invasion of which is sufficient to confer Article III standing," the 18-page ruling states. "The right to vote belongs to the member cricket leagues, not to individuals such as Mr. Varadarajan."

"As a non-member, Mr. Varadarajan lacks standing to enforce the USACA constitution," Koh wrote. "Moreover, as a non-member, Mr. Varadarajan also does not have an interest protected by New York's Not-For-Profit Corporation Law. Mr. Varadarajan lacks Article III standing because he has not clearly shown the invasion of a legally protected interest."

Varadarajan and the academy argued that they "exhausted every conceivable avenue - formal and informal - to convince the USACA Board to abide by the law and hold elections required by the constitution."

Koh found, however, that the pair failed to exhaust administrative remedies since they did not challenge an independent auditor hired by the association.

Though the academy and Varadarajan also argued on behalf of other banned leagues, Koh said litigants are limited to asserting only their own legal rights and interests.

The judge also brushed off the academy's claim that its exclusion from the election will compromise its ability to attract players, fans and sponsors.

"It is unclear how denial of an injunction reinstating CCA's right to vote (and the right of all other members deemed ineligible to vote) would cause CCA to lose players, fans, sponsors, grants, and donations," Koh wrote. "Moreover, the monetary value of this loss is speculative." (Parentheses in original.)

Cricket, the world's second-most popular sport behind soccer, began in England in the 16th century and is the country's national sport. The sport's original format, a "test match," lasts five days.

"Mr. Varadarajan's claims are dismissed for lack of Article III standing, and CCA's claims are dismissed to the extent that they seek to reinstate non-party members' voting rights, for lack of third party standing," the ruling concludes.

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