Cricket SA was ‘millimetres from going over a cliff’

30 April 2021 - 18:01
CSA interim board chair Stavros Nicolaou during the minister of sports, arts and culture's interim board and members council joint press conference at CSA head offices on April 30 2021 in Joburg.
CSA interim board chair Stavros Nicolaou during the minister of sports, arts and culture's interim board and members council joint press conference at CSA head offices on April 30 2021 in Joburg.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Chair of the Cricket SA (CSA) interim board Stavros Nicolaou has said that the organisation was millimetres away from going over a cliff in what could have been a disastrous eventuality for the game in the country.

CSA losing recognition and funding by the government was going to lead to complete devastation for players‚ workers and other stakeholders at all levels and it was going to scupper plans to bid for the coming International Cricket Council (ICC) men’s‚ women’s‚ U19 tournaments‚ Nicolaou said.

“We were at the edge of a cliff‚ we were millimetres [away]‚ and I don’t even want to say it was centimetres‚” he said Nicolaou on Friday where, together with sports, art & culture minister Nathi Mthethwa, CSA announced the amended memorandum of incorporation (MOI) that was agreed by both the interim board and the members council.

“We were millimetres away from going from going over the edge of a cliff but fortunately the cliff is a very steep one. We were facing a scenario‚ apocalyptic almost‚ and Mr Rihan Richards [acting president of the members council] has indicated that in a few months we will be bidding for the World Cup. Please God we succeeded and none of those things would have been possible if we had gone off the cliff.

“Being at the edge of the cliff‚ your sponsors get nervous‚ staff gets nervous and the country at large gets nervous. We had to do something to pull back from the brink and from the cliff.

“We got together with the members council after the so-called failed special general meeting and we said, in the interest of the game, let’s try and work through these issues that for nine years have put us on a rollercoaster ride.

“We knew that our only option was a section 60 process‚ which enables a round-robin resolution‚ and we embarked on a two-tier process to get an agreement on the amended MOI. And to be clear‚ it was not a compromise because it is something that we both want and it’s good for governance.

“This MOI is a world-class document and we can take it anywhere with the greatest pride because there were no shortcuts and compromises.

“Cricket has been placed on a different‚ solid‚ sound governance pathway‚ one which makes us proud as an organisation‚ one which the country can take pride in‚ one which we can showcase as we did with the constitution during the times of Madiba [late former president Nelson Mandela].”

Mthethwa said the adoption of the MOI is a victory for cricket and transformation.

“We have to say that today is a victory and the victors here are the players‚ cricket itself‚ the staff members of cricket‚ mothers and fathers who have written to me over a period of time asking me to save cricket from itself‚” the minister said.

“The victors here are those administrators of cricket‚ those who want to see this country go forward‚ those who are not going to be apologetic to forge ahead with transformation in this country.”

Nicolaou also took time to clarify the fundamental amendments that are contained in the MOI.

“It was to make provision for an independent majority board‚” he said. “That is standard practice, and it is governance 101, and we have achieved that. It will be a board of 15 for the first three years and then it will be reduced to 13 after three years.

“The 15 will be made up of eight independent directors‚ five non-independent directors‚ two executives (CEO‚ CFO).

“The chair of the board must be independent. That means all 15 board members will vote and elect a chair from within their midst but he can only come from the eight independent directors.

“There is clear role clarity and responsibility‚ so it is very clear what the role of the board is after the AGM. The roles and responsibilities of the board of the members council has also been clarified.”