South Africa Players Apologise to Stakeholders as CSA Faces Government Sanction
An administrative upheaval experienced by Cricket South Africa (CSA) has resulted in ministerial intervention, leading to apologies to fans and sponsors by the country’s cricketers. The ICC could be forced to suspend South Africa’s international teams if CSA is withdrawn by the government as South Africa’s governing body of cricket.
SACA Statement Urges Resolution of Issues
With both the ICC and the government threatening suspension, a statement signed by Khaya Zondo, president of South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA), as well as national captains Dane van Niekerk, Temba Bavuma and Dean Elgar, urges the resolution of cricket’s issues to prevent the game from being “severely prejudiced.”
Why the Problems Have Arisen
The problems stem from the failure of the CSA to set in place a new Memorandum of Incorporation to allow a majority independent board to take over. To avoid government intervention, the CSA’s Members’ Council — which consists of 14 provincial heads and is the highest decision-making body of the CSA – must agree on a new MOI laying the foundation for an independent chair and a majority independent board. In a special general meeting on 17 April, the Members’ Council voted against such a move.
Sports Ministers Warns CSA of Government Intervention
Consequently, the CSA has received notice from sports minister Nathi Mthethwa who has warned the CSA of government intervention via the National Sports and Recreation Act. As per the act, Mthethwa enjoys the right to withdraw CSA as South Africa’s governing body of cricket. Such withdrawal of CSA’s status would prevent national teams from claiming to represent South Africa. The use of that power by the sports minister could be interpreted by the ICC as a violation of the ICC’s code of conduct, in which government interference is forbidden. Cricket’s governing body could then move to isolate South Africa from the global game.
SACA Concerned that Cricket Schedule Could be Harmed
While it is not clear how and when Mthethwa will intervene, according to a reported statement by his office on 18 April, necessary steps would be initiated in a week’s time. The cricket season in South Africa ended on 16 April with the last match of the series versus Pakistan and there are no confirmed fixtures in the coming months involving either the men or the women. The SACA, however, are concerned with the bigger picture and the possibility that the incidents could irreparably affect the schedule.
Official Statement by SACA
The statement by the SACA read, “The Women’s team has enjoyed unparalleled success over the past 14 months, and the women’s game in South Africa is on the verge of significant expansion. The development of the game is now under serious threat, and at a time when we should be enthusiastic about the future, we have to be concerned about its future. The men’s team has an ICC World T20 event in November. Preparation has already started for this event, and the current state of cricket administration undermines our work in this regard. It may even lead to our suspension from this event should the ICC decide to suspend South Africa.”
ICC Set Precedent Via Zimbabwe Suspension in 2018
A precedent was set recently in 2018 when the ICC suspended Zimbabwe’s cricket board following interference by the Zimbabwe government and Zimbabwe were consequently banned from playing the qualifiers for the T20 World Cup.
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