South African cricketers refuse to deal with board

December 10, 2019 | By

Cape Town: South Africa’s cricket crisis continued on Monday when the South African Cricketers’ Association repeated its call for Cricket South Africa’s board to resign – and said it would refuse to negotiate with any members of the board.

SACA chief executive Tony Irish said his organisation, which represents the country’s professional cricketers, was prepared to deal with interim chief executive Jacques Faul but not with any CSA panel if it included members of the board.

In a statement, Irish said the suspension of chief executive Thabang Moroe, announced on Friday, should have been followed by the resignation of the board.

CSA president Chris Nenzani announced the appointment of Faul at a press conference after a board meeting on Saturday and claimed that a deal was close to being signed for former Test captain Graeme Smith to become director of cricket. But Nenzani brushed off widespread calls for the board to resign.

SACA’s statement listed a large number of issues which had arisen under the board’s watch, including “forecasts of huge and unprecedented financial deficits, systematic breaches of agreements, high profile court cases and legal disputes, reports of uncontrolled spending by staff, admissions of the need for a forensic audit, suspension upon suspension of CSA employees, failure to put in place Proteas’ (national) team structures, attempts to silence the media, resignations of independent directors… and withdrawal of the game’s biggest sponsor.”

Irish said the issues had unfolded over a period of time, “mostly with its (the board’s) knowledge and some even with its support.”

“We are astounded that the board of CSA which has led the organisation during a tumultuous period now refuses to take responsibility for the deep, deep crisis in which cricket finds itself,” said Irish.

“No one disagrees with the removal of the chief executive but to suggest that the buck stopped with him alone, and for the board to cling so desperately to power, is a matter for serious concern.”

– ‘Legitimate concerns ignored’ –
Irish said Nenzani personally shared responsibility for a breakdown in relations with the players which led to SACA filing a high court application for CSA to adhere to the terms of a memorandum of agreement with SACA.

“The president and other board members ignored the legitimate concerns of SACA and the players for months in the same way that the chief executive did. Formal and detailed letters were sent not only to the chief executive but also to the president and chairman of the finance committee dating back several months. No replies to the letters were ever received. This happened long before SACA launched its court proceedings.”

Irish said that CSA took until November to file a response to SACA’s court application, which was launched in May – and had also failed to follow up on a meeting in August, involving Nenzani and other key board members, which could have resolved the issues.

“SACA has noted the appointment of Jacques Faul as the acting chief executive and is prepared to deal with him in good faith in order to attempt to resolve as many as possible of the current crises affecting the players,” said Irish. “SACA will not however lend credibility to the board of CSA by dealing with a ‘negotiating panel’ if this comprises any board members. It is hoped that the new chief executive will appoint a highly competent director of cricket so that, even at this very late stage, he can start putting the best possible professional structure around the Proteas team.”

The crisis comes shortly before England arrive for a tour which includes four Test matches, with the first Test starting on December 26.

There was no immediate response to SACA’s statement from CSA.

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