This is an uncomplicated statement of the plain facts as at 28 July 2016:
- Article 2.9 of the Articles of Association of the International Cricket Council (ICC) (as amended in May 2016) expressly stipulates as follows: “Where a government interferes in the administration of cricket by a Member (Cricket South Africa (CSA) is a Member), including but not limited to interference in operational matters, the selection and management of teams, the appointment of coaches or support personnel or the activities of a Member, the Executive Board shall have the power to suspend or refuse to recognise that Member.” The regulations make no provision for exceptions regarding selection issues on the basis of things like “transformation”, “redressing the imbalances of the past” or “reflecting demographics”.
- In May 2015, CSA was one of five national sports bodies which signed a memorandum of understanding with the Sports Ministry. The details of the memorandum have never been made public, but as far as cricket is concerned it is generally understood that the memorandum has set a 60% players-of-colour target for senior national men’s teams. CSA failed to reach this target and on 26 April 2016 the Minister of Sport, Fikile Mbalula, punished CSA for their failure by making the unprecedented announcement that CSA has been prohibited from bidding to host major international tournaments. According to media reports, if the target is not met, the memorandum also empowers the Minister to put further pressure on CSA‚ including stopping its teams from playing international cricket.
- In an obvious attempt to achieve the racial representation targets they have agreed to in the memorandum, CSA on Tuesday this week announced that they would “introduce targets for all the national teams”. This is a radical departure from CSA’s former position. On 19 May 2015, CSA president Chris Nenzani said the following in answer to a question from the parliamentary portfolio committee on sport why Aaron Phangiso, the only black African member of South Africa’s 2015 World Cup squad, did not play a single game: “The only game we are playing is cricket. The only level of target we have not specified is at national level.”
CSA is skating on thin ice…