The South Africa cricket federation is facing its ‘greatest crisis’ since apartheid as the government exercised its power to intervene in the running of the country’s troubled cricket federation on Friday.
The South Africa sports minister Nathi Mthethwa sent a notice to the Cricket South Africa’s interim board, which read that the minister is invoking a section of law allowing the government to take decisions out of the hands of sports officials when disputes can’t be resolved.
This move may lead to ICC banning South African cricket teams, both male and female, from international cricket, as the International Cricket Council does not allow governments to interfere in national cricket bodies. The ICC has previously banned countries from international competitions when that happens.
The situation with Cricket South Africa is complex, though, with the government and CSA’s interim board effectively working together against a third body, the decision-making members’ council of the CSA.
However the ICC has not confirmed that it had not received a complaint from Cricket South Africa over government interference. The government and interim board are both pushing for the reforms. While the members council is made up of the 14 presidents of South Africa’s provincial cricket unions. They rejected the changes in a secret vote where a 75 per cent majority was required.
It Is Deeply Disappointing That A Self-Interested Vocal Minority Voted Against Change: CSA’s Interim Board
Six members voted for changes, five voted against and three abstained. This stalled a months-long process of rebuilding South African cricket’s shattered reputation and led to the Sports Minister taking control of the cricket federation.
“It is deeply disappointing that a self-interested vocal minority voted against change while three members chose to abstain. These actions have now brought the game to its knees and will cause the greatest crisis since (South Africa’s international) readmission,” CSA’s interim board said of the failed vote.
Government Intervention In The Sport Will Have Dire Consequences: Captains Of South Africa Cricket Teams
CSA’s troubles are dated long back, but came to the fore last year when chief executive Thabang Moroe and other officials were fired for misconduct and an investigation showed how the previous board had failed in its oversight duties.
Since that happened, the CSA President and stand-in chief executive have quit, and a second stand-in chief executive was suspended. Not only this, but the South African players have had enough of this.
“Government intervention in the sport will have dire consequences, the full extent of which we do not yet know. The right to represent South Africa may be withdrawn and the ICC may suspend Cricket South Africa. These outcomes will in turn impact touring, broadcast rights and sponsorship deals.
Ultimately, the financial viability of the game will suffer and cricket at all levels will be severely prejudiced. As players, we wish to speak directly to the many sponsors of our beloved game …We apologize for the actions of our administrators, who have undermined and betrayed your commitment to the sport,” top South African international players, including Test captain Dean Elgar and limited-overs captain Temba Bavuma, said in a joint statement earlier in the week.