Threats from the South African government endanger cricket travel

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South African pacemaker Kagiso Rabada during a net session© Twitter


South Africa’s sports minister on Wednesday threatened to intervene directly in the affairs of Cricket South Africa, a move that could jeopardize future international tours. In a bold statement, Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa set a deadline of October 27 for CSA to give him written reasons why he should not “exercise his right to intervene.” Mthethwa said he had notified the International Cricket Council of his intentions. The ICC does not permit government involvement in affiliated bodies.

A planned one-day international tour of England in November and December now seems questionable.

Even if the ICC does not sanction CSA for government interference, the Covid-19 pandemic means that special government permission is required for sports teams to travel from what are considered “risky” countries, including Great Britain.

Cricket South Africa officials met with Mthethwa on Monday and need his support to keep the tour going.

But Wednesday’s statement made it clear that Mthethwa “sees no value in further involvement” unless CSA can resolve its issues by Oct. 27.

Mthethwa’s move came after a meeting between CSA and the parliamentary sports portfolio committee on Tuesday, which the minister said had produced “negative outcomes.”

The meeting followed unsuccessful agreements between CSA and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) calling for the resignation of the CSA board and executive branch while an investigation into the financial and managerial affairs of cricket took place.

According to South African law, Sascoc is an umbrella body for top sport codes.

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Sascoc asked Mthethwa to join after what she said was a lack of cooperation from CSA, mainly due to unrestricted access to a forensic report that led to CEO Thabang Moroe’s resignation in August.

South African cricket has been in disarray since Moroe was suspended last December after alienating the country’s players’ association and revoking the accreditation of critical journalists, which in turn led to major sponsors withdrawing their support amid calls for the resignation of the board.

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