Proteas must change badge or face boycott, says Gideon Sam

2014-07-12 00:00

THE Proteas face an international boycott if they don’t change their badge.

This ultimatum was given to Cricket SA last month by the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee ­(Sascoc).

Sascoc president Gideon Sam said the king protea is the only symbol for international sports teams and no combination with any other symbol is permitted.

The Proteas are playing in Sri Lanka with the badge they have worn for 15 years, which combines the protea with the national flag.

Sam says the flag must go.

“It is just the cricket guys we’ve been battling for years and we’re fed up.

“We don’t care where they move the flag to, but they must move it,” Sam said.

“If they don’t, we will take steps.”

Sascoc rules say they can kick CSA out. That would mean CSA would no longer be recognised as an official sports body and would lose the right to send teams to international competitions.

Sam said cricket bosses had pleaded to be allowed to keep their emblem, because it would have far-reaching consequences with sponsors.

“CSA only agreed to change it after they came up against the director-general of sport and recreation [Alec Moemi],” Sam said.

“We gave them until after the tour to Sri Lanka to make the necessary changes.”

The Springbok emblem on the shirts of the national rugby team came under similar fire in 2009, before Sascoc allowed the SA Rugby Union to move it to the right breast, leaving the protea alone on the left breast.

“The Springbok emblem as it now appears is not in any danger,” Sam said in answer to a query.

“CSA could have followed the rugby guys’ example.”

Neither CSA CEO Haroon Lorgat nor Chris Nenzani, its president, reacted to requests for comment yesterday.

People with knowledge of the issue said it could cost between R500 000 and R800 000 to change the emblem.

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