The ICC can be expected to approach CSA for clarification over the board and executive being instructed to step aside by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) on Thursday. That’s the opinion of David Becker, former head of legal for the ICC, who was involved in the drafting of the regulation on outside interference in Member Bodies.
Article 2.4 of the ICC’s Constitution states that: “The Member must manage it affairs autonomously and ensure that there is not government (or other public or quasi-public body) interference in its governance, regulation and/or administration of Cricket in its Cricket Playing Country (including in operational matters, in the selection and management of teams, and in the appointment of coaches or support personnel,” and though SASCOC is not a government institution, it is a public body which oversees high-performance sport. ESPNcricinfo understands that the ICC is monitoring the situation, as Becker suggested.
While Becker, who now works as a sports lawyer in South Africa, said the ICC would be “cautious” when deciding whether SASCOC’s decision to appoint a task team to conduct an investigation into CSA’s administrative and financial affairs constitutes a breach of its constitution, he pointed to the wording of one of SASCOC’s reasons for stepping in as potentially “worrying” to the game’s global governing body.
“As regards to ICC intervention, ICC will certainly be concerned by the reference in SASCOC’s letter to SASCOC having received a ‘directive by the Minister of Sport and Recreation for SASCOC to intervene into the affairs of CSA’,” Becker told ESPNcricinfo. “ICC will be loath to intervene and suspend CSA, but they will be perturbed by it and will certainly actively seek a coherent explanation from CSA. They are required to, as the international governing body.”
CSA, meanwhile, is seeking legal advice on whether SASCOC had the authority to intervene in the manner it did, which CSA disagrees with. In an overnight statement CSA said it had not been given the opportunity to engage with SASCOC (although the parties have held two meetings recently) and a spokesperson said the organisation is continuing with “business as usual”, with the board and members’ council set to meet this weekend to chart the way forward. Becker does not believe CSA will be able to prevent SASCOC’s task team from being formed and beginning its work, and explained that SASCOC has acted within its remit.
“SASCOC’s powers under its own constitution, and under the National Sports and Recreation Act, are very broad. They have the ability to convene an investigation, and if necessary intervene. We all know urgent action is needed in view of the dire circumstances at CSA,” Becker said.
“The question is whether SASCOC have acted prematurely. They have consulted with CSA, but has the task team been appointed? Who is on the task team and is it ready and able to do its work? Still, CSA would be hard-pressed to obtain an interdict from the High Court in response to SASCOC’s actions. Given SASCOC’s broad powers, and the circumstances at CSA, CSA need to be seen to be co-operative here.”
CSA has been embroiled in a governance crisis since December last year, when former CEO Thabang Moroe was suspended. Moroe was dismissed last month after a forensic audit revealed acts of serious misconduct but the audit has not been made fully available to SASCOC, the sports ministry or the public, forcing SASCOC to use its step-in rights to look into CSA.