Why possible ICC suspension should be a real concern for CSA, Proteas

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Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa.
Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa.
(Gallo Images/Jeffrey Abrahams)
  • There are growing concerns that the administrative crisis at CSA could result in ICC intervention or suspension.
  • The Members' Council is refusing to acknowledge the interim board, which was unveiled by sports minister Nathi Mthethwa last month. 
  • The ICC constitution makes it clear that government control of one of its member associations is not allowed. 

Events on Thursday confirmed that Cricket South Africa (CSA), administratively, remains in a dire situation.

On 30 October, sports minister Nathi Mthethwa announced the appointment of an interim CSA board that was to operate for at least three months to clean up the mess.

This followed the resignation of the entire previous CSA board at Mthethwa's request after he had threatened to "intervene" in the running of the organisation should that not happen. 

Government and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) have been taking an interest in CSA's affairs for over two months now with the Fundudzi forensic report, which independently interrogated the organisation's leadership for a four-year period dating back to 2016, key to their involvement. 

Mthethwa has been clear that, administratively, CSA needs drastic change and this interim board was the first step. 

On Thursday, however, the actions of CSA's Members' Council threatened that entire process when, through acting CSA president Rihan Richards, it refused to acknowledge Mthethwa's interim board for a range of reasons including conflict of interest over former CEO Haroon Lorgat's inclusion and a fundamental breakdown between the parties. 

It took the Members' Council two weeks to reach that decision after the interim board was first unveiled and now, with England just days away from arriving in the country for a limited overs tour against the Proteas, there are concerns as to what Mthethwa's response will be. 

In fact, when Mthethwa first started engaging with CSA and wielding government's stick of power back in September, there were concerns over what that might mean for cricket in South Africa and, specifically, the Proteas. 

The International Cricket Council's (ICC) constitution makes it clear that member nations could face suspension from international cricket and major ICC events if government intervenes in the running or control of one of its councils. 

A month ago, Sport24 received clarity from the ICC on what needed to happen for the game's governing body to take any action. 

The response was that the ICC was monitoring the situation at CSA closely, but that any possible intervention would only happen through a written request or complaint from CSA themselves. 

While international suspension is a last resort and only reserved for extreme circumstances, Thursday's events certainly increase those chances somewhat because the Members' Council are now, effectively, creating a stand-off with the minister. 

It leaves a situation where, at this present moment, it is not clear who is running South African cricket: Mthethwa, the Members' Council or the interim board? 

If Mthethwa's response to the Members' Council's decision, as is expected, re-affirms that the interim board have been mandated to clean up CSA and that they should be viewed as that authority, then the Members' Council might have nowhere to turn but to the ICC for assistance. 

And, if that happens, then CSA has followed the exact steps that could result in a suspension. 

In July last year, Zimbabwe was suspended by the ICC when its government replaced its cricket board. 

Suddenly, a similar scenario does not seem that far-fetched in South Africa. 


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