Cricket SA lodges formal dispute with ICC over Australia tour cancellation

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Proteas celebrating a Test wicket
Proteas celebrating a Test wicket
  • Cricket South Africa has lodged a formal dispute with the International Cricket Council with regards to the cancelled Australian tour.
  • Australia were supposed to tour South Africa, but opted out of the trip citing Covid-19 concerns.
  • The cancelled trip is set to have massive financial implications for CSA.

Cricket South Africa's (CSA) strained relations with Cricket Australia (CA) with regards to the cancelled Test tour are set to be tested further after CSA submitted a dispute with the International Cricket Council's (ICC) dispute resolution council on Tuesday.

Australia announced at the beginning of this month that their three-Test tour of South Africa, which was expected to start in late February, would not take place over concerns surrounding coronavirus safety. 

CSA has been vocally frustrated by the decision since then and has written to CA and the ICC to voice that frustration, but on Tuesday it emerged that the matter has now been escalated further to the ICC in the form of a formal request to intervene. 

In a letter addressed to ICC chief executive officer Manu Sawhney that Sport24 has seen, CSA’s acting chief executive officer Pholetsi Moseki requested the game's governing body to ascertain the validity of whether Australia's reasons for cancelling the tour were acceptable. 

“Based on both our correspondence with CA and recent media reports, it is also obvious that the respective parties do not agree on whether the cancellation amounts to ‘Acceptable Non-Compliance’,” Moseki wrote. 

This step comes after CSA first approached the ICC on February 4 to consider whether CA’s cancellation of the tour that was supposed to take place next month ‘was reasonable, in good faith and whether the action (tour cancellation) constituted “acceptable non-compliance” or “unacceptable non-compliance” in terms of the 2019-2021 World Test Championship’.

Now, CSA is pushing the ICC to act based on the rules (competition terms) applicable to the World Test Championship (WTC), of which this series was to form part of.

Moseki, in the latest letter to the ICC, refers to the following WTC clause:

“In the event that a notification is made in accordance with Clause 7.1 and the relevant Parties are unable to reschedule the Tour, Series or Match(es) in question within the Competition Window, and they are subsequently unable to reach agreement on whether the failure to meet the obligation to participate in the Tour, Series or Match in question constitutes Acceptable Non-Compliance within thirty (30) days of the receipt by the ICC of a notification pursuant to Clause 7.1 above, then the ICC shall request a Security Report in accordance with the process set out in Schedule 4.”

The letter adds that, if the ICC deems the decision could be 'non-acceptable compliance', it should:

1. Immediately appoint an independent security consultant from the ICC list (or more than one such consultant if the issues raised require reports from consultants with expertise in different fields) to review and investigate the issues cited by the relevant Party with regard to such Match or Series.

2. The consultant(s) appointed in accordance with Paragraph 3 shall conduct a full and thorough investigation (including consultation with the security authorities in the host country and consideration of any security advice received by a Visiting Member from its government agencies, to the extent such information is provided to the ICC for consideration by the consultant(s)) and shall prepare a detailed report (“Security Report”).

3. Unless otherwise agreed by the ICC, the Security Report shall be submitted to the ICC within five (5) days of the appointment of the consultant(s).

CSA’s acting Member’s Council president Rihan Richards confirmed the organisation wrote to the ICC to seek clarity with regards to what could happen to CA with regards to the cancelled tour.

“For certain specific reasons, you are allowed to cancel games and there are regulations around that and Covid-19 being one of them. It also says that you have to provide the basis of why you’re cancelling,” he said.

“It will have a financial impact on us, but we can recover if we have another tour that could become compulsory to them regardless of the outcome of this so long as it is in our four-year-cycle.

“The perception that has been created is that SA can’t do its Covid-19 homework and we can’t make a bio-secure environment. It has a major impact on affiliates, and it can affect everything within your structures.

“We were very disheartened by the action.”

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