Cricket South Africa finds itself caught between a rock and a hard place

2012-11-23 00:00

ADVOCATE Norman Arendse has again won a battle against Cricket South Africa, whose attempts to get onto the straight have been stifled once more.

CSA must be sick of anything to do with the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Council (Sascoc). They have been shadowing them and have been hands on and off. Just when they needed their swing vote in terms of the arbitration, Sascoc summarily did the right thing in setting the CSA decision aside.

Independent boards are about the right people in the right positions with the interests of the game at heart. They must not and should not be about malleable individuals who can be rolled this way and that by a board who will still want to pass their own crooked motions.

I’m not saying that the board is offside, but I always like to raise the point that none of them were fingered in former chief executive Gerald Majola’s cookie-jar digging, which happened under their watch and only responded when the government put the administrative squeeze.

It is the same board that decided to out wing Arendse and ensure that he does not swagger in the CSA passages. They had their personal reasons, as the crusader for racial transformation applied unnecessary pressure in team selection.

There isn’t a lot of provision for interference in team selection in the International Cricket Council’s constitution and if things could be viewed from a Sri Lankan eye, government interference in picking a team is more like passing the sugar.

Besides CSA’s apparent dislike for Arendse, it was pretty clear that one of the sharpest legal minds in the country was never going to let this one slip. He did burn bridges that he did not know he could need in future, but members were well within their rights to put up his name for nomination. His vindication should not mean that he should waltz onto the board, but being spurned on, grounds of his life membership with the Western Province Cricket Association set in motion the wheels that are now set to derail the Annual General Meeting train.

It has already happened.

It has to be said that the members selected by the CSA board to act on their committee were independent.

Shawn Christiansen, whose resignation from the steering committee also led to the fractious episode, rightly raised the issue of Geoff Whyte’s, Louis von Zeuner’s and Mohammad Iqbal Khan’s involvement through their respective companies, which are Amalgamated Beverages Industries, Absa and Old Mutual.

If CSA were said to be scouting for independents, shouldn’t they have applied the same yardstick with the other independents, as the above companies have commercial links with CSA?

One board member had the guts to tell me that even though Arendse had done a lot for cricket during his tenure, it should be in his best interests to stay out of the game as there are many people who do not want him back. The member further said that chances of CSA escaping with a verdict from the Sascoc arbitration were minimal.

For an organisation with some very smart people, CSA are acting like the wife caught in bed with another man, with no defence mechanisms to lie their way out of the situation. Whatever steps CSA has taken forward from the Majola saga, this one is 20 steps back.

Taking on Sascoc is dangerous, as they have the power to suspend CSA, which will make them ineligible to serve the country’s cricket interests internationally. That is something CSA would not want to be taken away from them, as it did not even happen during ‘Majolagate’.

It’s downright embarrassing and one hopes the boardroom battles do not match the carnage of yesterday morning in Adelaide. That though, is another story for another day.

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