South Africa news September 17, 2008

Arendse quits as Cricket South Africa president

Cricinfo staff


Norman Arendse: "It is important that the person who presides over cricket in our country enjoys the full trust and confidence of his chief executive officer, and all 11 affiliates. Currently, I enjoy neither." © Getty Images
 

Cricket South Africa's president Norman Arendse has resigned from his post, even though he has two years of his term left to serve, because he never at "any stage enjoyed the full trust and confidence of the CEO [Gerald Majola], and all 11 affiliates". Gerald Majola, the CSA chief executive, has received Arendse's resignation with "surprise and regret" and has said that the president had given no prior indication of his intention to resign.

CSA has announced that its vice-president, Logan Naidoo, will act as president until the board elections are held.

"It is important that the person who presides over cricket in our country enjoys the full trust and confidence of his chief executive officer, and all 11 affiliates who are the custodians of the game," Arendse said in a statement in Cape Town. "Currently, I enjoy neither - and it does not assist me that I may enjoy constitutional protection against my removal at this stage until my three-year term ends in August 2010.

"The truth of the matter is that although I was returned unopposed as president of Cricket South Africa [CSA] in August 2007 for a three-year term, I never at any stage enjoyed the full trust and confidence of the CEO, and all 11 affiliates. The CEO is of the view that the president is merely a ceremonial head there to preside over meetings, and to attend matches, and functions.

"By contrast, I hold the view that the CEO is employed by the board, and is accountable to it. The president, in between meetings, stands in the shoes of the employer [the board], and the CEO is accountable to him. As a consequence of these sharply contrasting positions, the relationship between the CEO and I, has broken down irretrievably. Should we continue in this way, there is a real danger that cricket may be plunged into a crisis, and the game be brought into disrepute.

"The office of the president of CSA must be respected, and be supported by all, including the CEO and all 11 affiliates - at all times. This is currently not the case: historically, the 6:5 split in South African cricket has bedevilled the administration of the game in South Africa, and has reared its ugly head again."

Majola, however, said that he was surprised that Arendse cited "irretrievable differences" between them as one of the reasons for his resignation. "The differences between us were of management style, and hardly irretrievable in my view," Majola said. "I also question Mr Arendse's statement that I do not respect the office of the president. My office operates totally under the corporate governance regulations outlined in the King 2 code of business conduct and this includes the relationship between policy and operations."

Arendse also said that Western Province, Boland, Eastern Province, Border, and KwaZulu-Natal were traditionally the affiliates that were supportive of transformation in cricket and that the other affiliates had battled to come to terms with transformation, and in some instances, transformation was completely lacking, and remained a foreign concept.

"The CEO, and others, have done well to exploit these differences, and as a result, six of these affiliates have apparently indicated that they no longer have confidence in me. The charges against me appear to be my transformation agenda, and my demand of the CEO that he be accountable to me in my representative capacity as the president of the board. I plead guilty to both charges, and have nothing to say in mitigation of sentence!"

The rift between Arendse and a powerful section of the board was exposed before the national team's tour to Bangladesh early this year, when the president reportedly refused to approve the squad chosen by the six-man selection committee because it contained fewer than seven coloured players. Arendse was forced to backtrack but drew flak from within during the ICC's annual conference in Dubai in June where he spoke out strongly against national politics affecting cricket in Zimbabwe, a traditional ally.

The divide deepened as CSA initiated moves to transform into a non-profit body, which would require a restructuring of its administration. Ray Mali, the former ICC president who was once an ally of Arendse, has been linked with the group that moved against the president and is said to be backing Gauteng's president Mtutuzeli Nyoka, who is widely tipped to be the new CSA chief.

Arendse said that he had been involved in the administration of the sport in order to ensure that the disadvantaged, underprivileged, and poor were given equal opportunities and he hoped that his successor would continue the policy.

Despite the revenue stream from the Champions League, and the recent Test victory in England, Arendse said that challenges remained in terms of grass-root development.

"Our schools, rural, and club cricket is in a mess; and funding for grassroots amateur cricket needs to be increased exponentially," Arendse said. "This requires the budget of CSA to be totally transformed to address the real and tangible needs of the previously disadvantaged, the less privileged, needy and poor cricketers."

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