Cricket South Africa (CSA) has been stripped of its right to administer the sport in the country by sports minister Nathi Mthethwa – a move that puts the participation of both the men’s and women’s teams in international matches at risk.
CSA has been involved in a number of ongoing wrangles about its leadership and structure for a number of months, resisting efforts to install more independent directors – seen as critical to tackling corruption.
“I have decided to invoke my powers by de-funding and de-recognising CSA‚” Mthethwa says in a letter to CSA.
CSA’s interim board responded by saying it is a “sad day” for cricket in the country.
Mthethwa’s letter added that he would be informing the ICC of his decision “and provide them with my reasons for doing so”.
Were CSA to be derecognised, it could mean that South Africa’s cricketers would not be allowed to play in international matches.
Like most sporting governing bodies, the ICC has strict rules that prohibit government intervention in the running of national sports associations.
The current problems stem from efforts to change the structure of CSA – making sure that the majority of board members are not from the provincial unions in the country.
A meeting last Saturday was meant to see this agreed, but the proposal did not gain the required support.
Stavros Nicolaou, chairman of the interim board, confirmed in a statement on Friday that the board had received correspondence from Mthethwa.
“It is indeed a very sad day for our country, for cricket, for the millions of fans who love the game and the sponsors who have committed to cricket and its grassroots development,” he says.
“But it is a specifically sad day for the players, staff and others whose livelihoods are at stake.”
South Africa’s men’s team is scheduled to next play Ireland in July in a three-match One Day International (ODI) tournament, while the women’s team does not have any firm fixtures until March 2022 at the Women’s World Cup.