Cricket Crisis Builds In South Africa As Sports Minister Threatens Action

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South Africa’s sports minister has provided notice that he’s going to withdraw recognition of Cricket South Africa as the governing body of cricket in the country, a move which could lead to CSA being suspended from the International Cricket Council (ICC). Minister Nathi Mthethwa wrote to the rival factions in the sport — the members’ council and the interim board — on Thursday stating he’s going to use his powers under a government Act “by defunding CSA and derecognising CSA and I will be able to cause this to be published in the Government Gazette”.

Mthethwa told CSA that he’s going to write to the ICC to provide an explanation for his action, which follows months of wrangling. 

It culminated in the failure of the members’ council, made up of the presidents of the provincial unions, to endorse a new governance system in which a majority of board members would be independent.

The ICC has a clause in its charter requiring member countries to administer their matters autonomously and make sure there is not any government interference.

Stavros Nicolaou, chairman of the interim board, confirmed in a remark on Friday that the board had received correspondence from Mthethwa. 

“It is indeed a very sad day for our country, for cricket, for the millions of fans who love the game and the sponsors who have dedicated to cricket and its grassroots development,” he said.

“But this is a specifically sad day for the players, staff and others whose livelihood are at stake.”

Nicolaou said only the members’ council could recover the situation by adopting a proposed memorandum of incorporation, which did not receive the essential 75 percent reinforce at final Saturday’s special general assembly.

Six of the members’ council voted for the new system in a secret poll but five voted against and three abstained.

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The captains of South Africa’s men’s and women’s national teams therefore criticised the decision of the council, which they said had acted in poor faith.

Mthethwa appointed the interim board in November final year following the resignation of the preceding board in the wake of widespread criticism over governance issues.

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