It is not a perfect world - CSA
A promise of a democratic election to the ICC's Executive Committee after 2016, financial security and more fixtures for the national team were the three main reasons for Cricket South Africa's vote in favour of the ICC revamp. Despite calling the proposed restructure "fundamentally flawed," when it was first announced, South Africa became the eighth country to support the motion and their president Chris Nenzani denied they "changed our vote at the last minute," explaining he acted as mandated by the CSA board.
Nenzani and CSA CEO Haroon Lorgat addressed the South African parliament's portfolio committee on sport on Tuesday. Nenzani assured his audience CSA had "not sold our country," while Haroon Lorgat said South Africa had "done very well to have withstood," and "fought against," the proposed changes. Following that, they addressed the media in Cape Town. The questions answered in the press conference are below.
What instruction did the CSA board give you ahead of the ICC meeting?
The mandate given to me was to say these are the proposals which have been improved from the previous ones, therefore as CSA we are supporting this.
Why did CSA vote in favour of the proposals after indicating opposition to them at first?
The letter we sent before January 28 to the ICC President, where we stated our position, was before the proposals were restructured. When they were, we met again as a board and a members forum where we said this is what is on the table. We are willing to live with what was on the table. We made it clear that even though we have a certain level of discomfort here and there, we are in a position to move and support the proposals. It is not a very perfect world. It may not be what we wanted to achieve but there has significant movement from what it was to what it is.
What has shifted, in particular?
The initial proposal said the positions of chairpersonship of the ICC, the financial and commercial affairs committee and the new Exco would be held by representatives of BCCI, ECB and CA in perpetuity. The new proposal says there will be a transitional process. After 2016, we will have normal elections. That to us is an improvement.
Secondly, the Test fund initially excluded CSA. The Test fund is given to countries so that when they play tours which are no economic benefits to them they have a financial cushion. Due to our interaction at a bilateral level, the new proposal includes CSA in the Test fund and that is an improvement as well.
The earlier proposal said in the F&CA and Exco you will have three members from the originators of the document and one elected from Full Members. Now it is going to be three plus two. We would want to see a situation where it's three plus three to begin to level out the decision-making powers. We feel we can negotiate on that at the terms of reference committee.
Another key for us is that the FTP is going to be binding. That is a very important development. Now we can enter with countries into contractual agreements. Those are the issues that sit well with us.
And what is still a concern?
Issues of detail concerning the proposals like clarity of financial distribution and FTP. With the FTP, there is an agreement in the ICC to say even though the FTP is going to be bilateral, there will be a process by which the ICC will set basic principles by which to govern the FTP. Later this month, there will be a scheduling summit hosted by the ICC around the FTP.
The other issue is of ensuring that the committees are really sub-committees of the board and the board must exercise oversight. Those committees are recommendation committees and the board will have to interrogate those recommendations and come up with its own feel and posture around some of the proposals. The board must make a call in the form of exercising oversight and if the board does not do that then we are concerned.
On the issue of distribution, we would enter into discussions at a bilateral level. Our view is that our major source of income is not necessarily the ICC distribution. Our major source of income is when we have quality FTP programs which are going to give an opportunity to raise a lot of revenue.
Does that mean there will be more Test series against the Big Three and South Africa could play four or five match series?
I have met with the three boards. We have not concluded anything at this stage but the discussions are at an advanced stage to try and ensure there will be quality FTP going forward. The view is that we want to have more Test matches, especially against serious Test playing countries. That is the foundation and premise from which we move when we negotiate with them. When you enter into negotiations, there is a lot that happens. It can change from one hour to the next but that is where we are, we want more content, we want more Test matches. We are in the process of concluding with all other nations and all other boards and the CEO is going to take that process to its conclusion.
Is there any indication on when the CEO can resume full function of his duties as he is currently under investigation?
The investigation regarding our CEO is still ongoing. In fact, there have been overtures to try and say can't we maybe pull this back but we have made it very clear that we want it continue so that it gives us finality. I have spoken to the president of the ICC to say I would want a situation where he facilitates and ensures this investigation is concluded as soon as possible. We are hoping he will respond and if he does not we will have to request him. It is important for us to have our CEO performing his duties without any limits.
The CEO's reintegration into top administration was reported as being part of a deal CSA struck, which you have denied. Were any deals struck in the process?
No deals were struck. We continue to engage everybody. We have to ensure there is cricket and those are deals we are talking about are things like saying to Australia can you come and play us at this time. There were no deals to say if you don't do this, we don't do that.
But there are perceptions India have offered something.
You would also appreciate these discussions were taking place even before the revamp proposal was put on the table. There are various issues we have discussed. In October last year in London, I had a discussion with Giles Clarke, the chairman of ECB, because they are coming here and to say can we tweak a bit the content of the tour. Even Australia, we had a discussion late last year again. It is unfortunate that the conclusion or the possible conclusion of these tours coincides with these proposals coming through. Otherwise, these are two different issues, they have two different lifespans.
There's talk of the IPL moving to South Africa, do you know anything about that?
I know that on the 13th, the IPL governing council is meeting, Other than that, what you know is what I know. There has been no formal approach to us.
Sri Lanka, Pakistan and South Africa were the three countries that voiced objections to the initial proposal. Did you inform the other two dissenting boards of your new position?
We did not leave PCB and SLC in limbo. Before the meeting on Friday, I explained to them the position we are taking as CSA. I did that so they didn't get to the meeting and become shocked when we reveal our position.
Did you expect them to change their minds?
We did not want them to follow our position. It was out of respect that we told them, 'this is where we are and we are taking this route.' I've seen and I've read they say they felt cheated by the position CSA took. But they did not vote against the proposals, instead they abstained because they wanted to go and confront their own stakeholders. I don't understand why they would feel cheated. If they wanted to make a statement in terms of their own interests, they could voted against it but they did not.
Pakistan, in particular, have expressed anger and disappointment with CSA. Do you think that is justified/
I don't feel that anger is justified, if what was reported in the newspaper was accurate, because we did not have allies. We were not allies in any sense. I believe we don't form make any permanent allies neither do we make any permanent enemies. What we do is we form strategic allies at strategic points in time in order to achieve a certain point and once you've done that you move in different directions.
Did you sense any overall animosity towards the Big Three?
I don't think there is necessarily animosity more than there is a difference of opinions which were put on the table.
Will ICC tournaments still only be hosted by the big three until 2023?
The events program was agreed upon in June last year in London and as it stands, it gives credence to what you are saying in reference to the Big Three. We are negotiating and we have made a letter of submission that we are not comfortable with the fact that we are not hosting any major event. We are still engaging with the ICC and I think it will be a continual discussion. They might have difficulty with that because somebody will have to give up something.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent