SA’s Sporting Federation Are Required By Law To Be Members Of The SASCOC:
The South African Olympic body has tried to deny evidence that its self-imposed participation in the affairs of the CSA leads to improper interference-which may lead the ICC to suspend the national teams of the region.
Aleck Skhosana, acting president of the South African Sports Confederation and the Olympic Committee (SASCOC), wrote to the ICC on Saturday, “At no point has SASCOC acted or operated under the leadership or direction of the Minister of Sport in the country [Nathi Mthethwa] or the Government of the Republic of South Africa.
Consequently, SASCOC denies any claim or insinuation that SASCOC involvement involves government interference.
This explicitly contradicts the resolution adopted at the SASCOC meeting on Monday, which specifically states: ‘The concerns about the administration of sport in the country relate, inter alia, to the following issues of concern, namely the Request of the Minister of Sport and Recreation for SASCOC to interfere in the affairs of the CSA.’
SASCOC is not a government agency. However, all sporting federations of the country, including the CSA, are required by law to be members of the SASCOC and may be governed by the SASCOC. By law, no rivals to SASCOC are allowed. Thus, without SASCOC’s approval players and teams would not officially represent South Africa and could not compete wearing the Protea badge or national colours.
There is no doubt that cricket in South Africa is in trouble on almost every front. However, it remains to be seen if the ICC can recognize SASCOC ‘s action as valid.
The ICC constitution states that a member is obliged to “manage his affairs independently and ensure that there is no government (or other public or quasi-public body) intervention in the governance, regulation and/or administration of cricket in his cricket-playing country (including in operational matters, in the selection and management of teams, and in the appointment of coaches or support staff).”
So what is viewed as interference does not necessarily have to come directly from the government in order for an ICC member to be hot enough in the water for a prompt suspension.
The saga began on Thursday with a letter from SASCOC to the CSA-which has been seen from the leading sports website-which claimed that “the CSA Board and those senior executives who serve on the Board of Directors ex officio (the President of the Group, the Chief Executive Officer, the CFO, and the COO) are ordered to step aside from the management of the CSA on full pay” pending the outcome of a month-long investigation by a yet to be named task team into “many instances of maladministration and malpractice that have occurred since at least December 2019”.
There is no question that, under South African law, SASCOC has the right to do what it has done, even though the manner in which it has been done may still be chosen by lawyers. But how didn’t SASCOC cross the line drawn by the ICC?
CSA responded on Friday in a statement that it “does not agree with the resolution adopted by SASCOC and has not had the opportunity to engage with SASCOC on the various issues raised in the communication” and that “CSA is taking legal advice on the basis of which SASCOC has sought to intervene in CSA’s business affairs.”
But CSA “committed to engaging further with SASCOC to understand its position and to find common ground with it in the best interests of cricket.” The CSA Board of Members-its highest authority-and the Board of Directors are in a workshop this weekend to “discuss critical issues.”
Key to the impasse is the result of a forensic inquiry ordered by the Council of Representatives, which is suspected to include senior officials and workers in wrongdoing. Currently, access to the report is heavily restricted-Members of the Board are able to view the report at the lawyer’s office, but only after signing a non-disclosure agreement.
In his letter to the ICC, Skhosana wrote, “The continued reluctance of the CSA to make the forensic report available is surprising since it seems that they are unable to correct themselves if the report is not made accessible, not just to its own members, but also to the media and the general public, as it is a public document.”
On the charge of interference, Skhosana wrote, “… we are very prepared to meet [the ICC] and address this issue with you and give you the assurance that the SASCOC involvement is a genuine effort to support one of its members who obviously and urgently need such assistance.”
His assertion that “SASCOC is prepared to give assistance to experts in the field of governance and administration” would shock South Africans who are aware of too many instances of shameful governance and shoddy administration at SASCOC.
But Skhosana did get something unmistakably right: “Publics, players and ex-players, stakeholders and sponsors have lost full faith and confidence in the management of cricket in South Africa.”