South Africa’s scheduled visit to the Caribbean could be in jeopardy after Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) highest authority reneged on an agreement to adopt a new constitution.
West Indies are due to host the Proteas for two Tests and five T20Is in June, but by then they may not be the country’s officially recognised team.
And tonight, Barbados Cricket Association board member and director Roland Butcher told Barbados TODAY that the current conflict in South African could mean that the tour would likely be called off which would be unfortunate for the West Indies.
Butcher explained that the Future Tours Programme allowed the home team to get their finances when playing at home but they get nothing when playing away.
He said this would obviously impact Cricket West Indies’ current troubling financial situation.
A South African government release on Sunday said sports minister Nathi Mthethwa had been “left … with no further option but to exercise his rights in terms of section 13(5) of the Sports Act”.
That law allows Mthethwa to strip federations of the privilege of calling their teams’ national sides and to stop funding them.
On April 10 a CSA release said a “majority of the member’s council [had decided to] accept the principle of a majority independent board led by an independent chairperson”.
At a special online meeting on Saturday the council, comprised of the presidents of CSA’s 14 provinces and associates, refused to do what it had said it would do: it voted against the motion.
That means cricket in South Africa remains structurally unsound. Seven of the 12 places on CSA’s board are reserved for the member’s council, leaving the door open for cronyism and the kind of poor governance that has led to cricket losing major sponsors and damaging its relationship with broadcasters.
An interim board, established with government help and appointed after the elected board laden with council members was persuaded to resign, has been in place since November.
The new board’s chief mandate is to fix CSA’s faulty memorandum of incorporation (MOI). On April 10 it seemed that was about to be achieved. On Saturday the glimmer of hope was dashed.
In Sunday’s release, Mthethwa spoke of his “disappointment at the failure of the CSA delegates to adopt the revised MOI”. Clearly, the government sees the members council as the rotten apple in the barrel. “The revised MOI … constituted an agreement between the CSA members council and the interim board.
Accordingly, any failure to ratify such an agreement entered into by a duly authorised members council representative can only be interpreted as acting in bad faith.”
Mthethwa added he “will be taking the necessary steps required to exercise his rights in terms of the law prescripts next week”.
Butcher told Barbados TODAY it was unfortunate what was going on in South African cricket, particularly after promises had been made for the installation of an independent governing board.
“They had an agreement with the council in relation to them voting for an independent board.
Then obviously when they had their final meeting a few days ago, several of those members changed their mind and a number abstained and the vote was not carried.
“That is unfortunate for South Africa because it puts them in a very difficult position. It also puts the minister in South Africa in a very difficult situation.
“In that, he now has to take drastic actions and that action really would be to take away responsibility for cricket in South Africa from the South Africa Cricket Board,” he said.
Butcher explained that this would mean that the team could not participate in any international event like South Africa.
He said the problem for the West Indies would be that if that were to happen, the team could not tour the Caribbean as representing South Africa in a Future Tours Program Series.
“This would be the first time in perhaps over a year that West Indies would have been able to host a series whereby they would be taking the revenue from that series. That would be a problem for the West Indies in that we are struggling financially anyway,” he said.
Butcher added: “All we can hope for is that common sense would prevail in South Africa and the sports minister would not have to make that decision.
The only way he would not be able to make that decision is for the council to agree to what they agreed to before. That the board be made up of independent members.
“It is not good for South Africa Cricket.
They have had an interim board for the past year. They have got several senior figures who were suspended and who were fired. So, they have had a pretty rocky time over the last year.
“Now to have this situation here is one that is going to affect them and certainly affects the West Indies. We just have to wait and see what happens because it is just an unfortunate situation.”
The former Barbados first-class cricketer and England Test batsman said when it came to ICC, they always insist there should be no government interference in administering cricket, but in this case, for the sake of South Africa, the sports minister might be prepared for a period of not being in international cricket for the good of South Africa Cricket going forward.
“It may come to that where ICC may have to suspend them from international cricket until that board is put back in place.
“Obviously in the meantime unfortunately West Indies will not benefit from a tour,” he stated.