South African government intervenes in CSA board crisis

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 30: A Cricket ball is seen lying on the pitch as mist and a wet outfield delay play during the Plunket Shield match between Canterbury and Wellington on March 30, 2017 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Cricket South Africa’s recognition as the governing authority of the sport in South Africa is set to be revoked after the Minister of Sports Nathi Mthethwa invoked Section 13 of the National Sports and Recreation Act.

FILE PHOTO: A cricket ball is seen lying on the pitch. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

“I have decided to invoke my powers under the Act and I hereby notify you that I have done so in accordance with s13 (5)(i)-(iii) by defunding CSA and derecognising CSA and I will cause this to be published in the Government Gazette in due course at the earliest opportunity,” Mthethwa wrote in a letter to CSA’s interim board chairperson and acting president.

In addition to the withdrawal of government funding to CSA, this means South Africa’s national teams will no longer be recognized as representatives of the country.

Mthethwa said that he will write to the sport’s world governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), explaining his decision and the reasons for taking them.

Mthethwa’s actions come amid a long-running administrative crisis at CSA which worsened after the suspension of former CEO Thabang Moroe in December 2019.

The issue at hand is CSA’s failure to accept a Memorandum of Incorporation that will ensure a new board of directors made up of a majority of independent, with an independent chair.

CSA’s interim board acknowledged receipt of Mthethwa’s letter adding that it was “deeply disappointing that a self-interested vocal minority voted against change”.

“It is indeed a very sad day for our country, for cricket, for the millions of South African fans who love the game and the sponsors who have committed to cricket and its grassroots development. But it is a specifically sad day for the players, staff and others whose livelihoods are at stake,” the board said in a statement.

Chairperson of the board Stavros Nicolaou expressed hope that the situation can be resolved quickly before Mthethwa’s action takes effect.

“Only the Members’ Council can retrieve the situation now by resolving to support an expedited procedure in terms of section 60 of the Companies’ Act,” Nicolau said.

The ICC’s constitution forbids government interference and South Africa faces a potential suspension by the ICC due to the current state of affairs emanating from its cricketing board.