Players voice their distress as frosty relations continue to put cricket under strain

20 April 2021 - 12:01
By tiisetso malepa AND Tiisetso Malepa
Sport, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa. File photo.
Image: Veli Nhlapo Sport, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa. File photo.

SA cricketers have voiced their unhappiness with the ensuing tension within the domestic game that is threatening to throw the sport into complete disarray.

The players‚ through a statement released by the SA Cricketers Association (Saca)‚ have called on the Cricket SA (CSA) interim board‚ sports minister Nathi Mthethwa and Sascoc to resolve the impasse that has continued unabated for several weeks.

The cricketers were reacting to events that saw the members council‚ which is made up of the 14 affiliates' presidents and is CSA’s elected highest decision-making body‚ vote against amendments in the memorandum of incorporation (MOI) to allow for a majority independent board and an independent chairperson with no affiliation to cricket at a special general meeting on Saturday.

“The governance crisis that has engulfed cricket for over 18 months has now escalated to the point where the minister of sport‚ arts and culture has formally noted his intent to intervene in the sport‚” reads the statement.

“We respect the fact that the minister has shown great patience in dealing with the governance crisis‚ and the events as they unfolded at the special general meeting of April 17 were in bad faith and disrespectful not only to his office‚ but to all cricketers and the public.

“Government intervention in the sport will have dire consequences‚ the full extent of which we do not yet know.

“The right to represent SA may be withdrawn and the ICC may suspend Cricket SA.

“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.

“The members’ council has now acted contrary to the wishes of the minister‚ the Nicholson Recommendations‚ King IV Governance principles‚ and international best practice — how can this be in the best interests of our game?

“The Momentum Proteas women’s team has enjoyed unparalleled success over the past 14 months‚ and the women’s game in SA 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 Proteas 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 SA.

“As players‚ we wish to speak directly to the many sponsors of our beloved game — such as SAB‚ Betway‚ Momentum‚ KFC — we recognise and acknowledge that your involvement in the game supports our careers and provides funding for the development of the game throughout SA.

“We apologise for the actions of our administrators who have undermined and betrayed your commitment to the sport.

“We are aware that many of you have engaged Saca directly over the past 12 months‚ confirming your support for us‚ the players‚ and for that we thank you.

“And finally‚ to the most important stakeholder in the game — the public — we ask that you continue to support cricket.

“It is the most wonderful game‚ and we are immensely proud to represent you on the field.

“We implore the members’ council‚ interim board‚ ministry and Sascoc to resolve this impasse so as to ensure that we can continue to do so.”