SACA calls for entire CSA Board to resign

Tony Irish (Gallo Images)
Tony Irish (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) has further added its voice to the ongoing crisis at Cricket South Africa (CSA), calling for the entire Board to resign. 

This comes after SACA held a combined meeting of its Players Executive Committee and Board in Cape Town on Friday. 

In a statement released after the meeting, SACA laid out all of their concerns and recommendations, which included a proposed reversal of the decision to restructure domestic cricket in South Africa from the 2020/21 season. 

SACA had also called for the resignation of Moroe, who was placed on precautionary suspension by CSA on Friday. 

CSA under Moroe wants to scrap the franchise system next year, including 12 professional provincial sides in the country's top tier of first-class cricket.

The SACA statement reads as follows: 

1. Crisis at Cricket South Africa (CSA) 

SACA calls for the resignation of the chief executive and the entire Board of CSA and for CSA’s Members Forum to appoint an interim committee to perform the duties and responsibilities of the Board until a new Board can be duly established. A highly competent acting chief executive should be immediately appointed. 

SACA also calls for a full, and independently conducted, investigation into how this crisis has arisen and who is responsible. This should cover at least the last 24 months. 

"Extremely poor leadership, both at operational level and at board level, is what has got cricket into this disastrous position," said SACA Chief Executive, Tony Irish.  

"It is abundantly clear that there is no confidence, from any quarter amongst cricket stakeholders, in the CSA Board. No one on the Board can say that he, or she, was unaware of what has been unfolding over at least the last year. It has all been happening, in many respects even publically, under the Board’s very nose, and in some instances with Board support." 

2. CSA Financial Position 

SACA calls for a full review of the financial position of CSA and in particular of its going concern status over a four year period from the 2019 financial year to the 2023 financial year, as well as a forensic audit into how cricket’s money has been spent over the last 24 months. 

"We have consistently flagged CSA’s financial position as being an area of real concern," said Irish. 

"Everyone in cricket, including the players, is dependent on the ongoing health and financial sustainability of CSA. Accurate forecasts over a financial cycle are critical as one has to understand how big the financial problem actually is in order to find a solution to it. We have also just seen the resignation from the Board of CSA of the Chairman of its Finance Committee and its Audit and Risk Committee citing amongst other things financial irregularities relating to credit card use. Yesterday more CSA employees were suspended, including the former acting chief financial officer." 

3. Domestic Restructure 

SACA calls for an immediate reversal of the decision to restructure domestic cricket, which is the subject of court proceedings between SACA and CSA. 

"In addition to the way this decision was taken we continue to maintain that it was not in fact for sound reasons relating to finances or cricket but instead for political reasons," said Irish.   

"It has adverse consequences for the majority of the professional cricketers in this country as well as for the standard of top flight domestic cricket. SACA stands ready to play its part in finding genuine solutions to the financial challenges facing cricket in South Africa but will not accept a structure being forced on the players." 

4. Industrial Action 

The possibility of players taking industrial, or protest, action in order to have concerns addressed by CSA was discussed and the possibility was not ruled out.  

"SACA re-iterates however that industrial action by the players should be viewed only as a very last resort," said Irish. 

"We also wish to reassure cricket fans, and other cricket stakeholders, that SACA will not embark on industrial action with the players during the upcoming England series. We are very aware of the importance of this series to the Proteas and to England, to the many fans from both countries and to the media and commercial partners." 

5. Proteas Mens Structures 

SACA calls for a clear and transparent structure to be put in place around the Proteas men's Team, involving experienced, credible and reputable cricket people as soon as possible.  

"In the England series across three formats which starts in three weeks time, the Proteas will be facing one of the best teams in the world," said Irish. 

"We know that the players will give 110% for South Africa on the field but it is critical that a proper professional structure is in place around the team. The way in which CSA has dealt with this to date, and the fact that nothing is in place, is totally unacceptable. It is ludicrous to expect players to be selected by unknown selectors." 

6. Honouring of Agreements 

SACA calls on CSA to honour all agreements signed by it with SACA.  This includes not only the MOU but all other agreements in place for MSL. 

"In relation to CSA’s latest attempt to ignore the provisions of the MSL commercial agreement it is clear that the player commercial rights were unlawfully used and that this continued even after it was drawn to CSA’s attention and is still continuing today," said Irish.  “

"An attempt by CSA’s chief commercial officer to publicly defend herself and CSA involved her attaching only select communications between CSA and SACA and not the full communications. The full communications can be made available by SACA." 

7. SACA Governance and Succession 

At SACA’s annual general meeting in November the players elected and confirmed its Players Executive Committee, being Omphile Ramela (President), Khaya Zondo, Mignon Du Preez (Proteas Women) and Farhaan Behardien. The committee also includes SACA’s chief executive, ex officio.  Andrew Breetzke, who has been head of legal and player advocacy at SACA since 2012, has been appointed as SACA’s new chief executive to succeed the outgoing Tony Irish who will take up the position of chief executive of the Professional Cricketers Association (PCA) in the United Kingdom in January 2020. 

Dr. Mohammed Moosajee, the former long serving manager of the men's Proteas team, has been appointed to the SACA Management Board and David Becker, former head of legal at the International Cricket Council (ICC) has been appointed as strategic and legal advisor to SACA. 

"We are very confident that even with Tony’s departure we have in place an experienced and committed Players Executive Committee, Management Board and operations team which will continue to strongly represent the players interests through the challenging times ahead," said SACA President, Ramela.

"Andrew has worked with Tony for many years and has the necessary institutional knowledge and experience for the job.

"Tony has dedicated 17 years of his professional life to the player cause in South Africa. He has always acted with integrity and on principle, ensuring that the best interests of players and the game are protected. He has never been afraid to hold authority to account, thereby gaining the respect of many in cricket throughout South Africa and the world. Cricketers in South Africa owe Tony a debt of gratitude and his departure is a major loss for our sport. Our loss, however, is the PCA’s gain, and we wish him all the very best as he embarks on this new challenge."

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