CSA v Gauteng August 12, 2009

Wanderers regains international status

Cricinfo staff

The Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg will host international matches this summer, beginning with the three matches during England's tour to South Africa later this year, after the resolution of a month-long dispute between Cricket South Africa and the Gauteng Cricket Board (GCB).

"CSA agrees to reinstate all the England tour games for the forthcoming tour in November, December and January," read a joint statement from both parties.

The GCB had levelled allegations of mismanagement during the 2009 IPL held In South Africa in April-May, against CSA chief executive Gerald Majola, the BCCI and the tournament organisers soon after the tournament ended. The South African board responded to this by stripping the Wanderers of its international status.

Gauteng had requested sports minister Makhenkesi Stofile to intervene in the stand-off, and both parties agreed to mediation in late July. Wanderers stood to lose out on the proposed matches - a Test, an ODI and a Twenty20 - during England's tour in November-December.

One of the mediators appointed by Stofile, advocate Brian Currin, announced on Wednesday that the matches had been restored to Johannesburg as part of the dispute resolution. Stofile appointed Currin along with another lawyer, Khabo Mamba, to help resolve the dispute when it became apparent the two parties were unable to reach an agreement.

The two parties also agreed on a programme aimed at the transformation of Gauteng Cricket, including the drafting of a revised constitution for the GCB, as well as a transformation charter.

"Cricket is an asset of South Africa - it does not belong to CSA or GCB," Stofile said. "Neither CSA nor GCB are the winners in this settlement - South Africa is the winner."

At a news conference last month, CSA president Dr Mtutuzeli Nyoka, had stated categorically there would be no international cricket under the auspices of CSA until the GCB had apologised for allegations made against CSA and Majola. However, Nyoka was glad an agreement had been reached.

"Things got out of hand," Nyoka said. "I'm very relieved we have managed to undo the damage that was done. They were always aware that their hosting of the three matches depended on the outcome of the mediation process. Holding an international cricket tour in South Africa without the Wanderers would be like 'Hamlet' without the prince.

"Subsequent to the initial dispute with GCB a number of further developments took place which pointed quite clearly that the problem in Gauteng is a leadership problem. This is why parties agreed that the reconstitution of the GCB board will be a solution to a number of these attendant problems and quite frankly some of the demands of the CSA would invariably fall away.

''The GCB through its president apologised to the CEO and CSA, which apology was accepted by us in the good spirit in which it was made. For us this demonstrated a willingness on the parties to resolve this matter and as a result signed the detailed agreement.

"Barry [Skjoldhammer, GCB chairman] and I are good friends, I have known him for 10 years and I respect him. At some point in the process we reached out to each other. Wanderers is the Mecca of South African cricket and you have to have matches there when you play in this country."

Skjoldhammer echoed Nyoka's sentiments, and was happy with Wanderers' reinstatement as an international venue. "The ceiling isn't high enough to hold me," Skjoldhammer said. "We had issues that we felt strongly about, CSA had issues they felt strongly about. Yes, we're satisfied with the things we have agreement on, and we're very relieved for the stakeholders of Gauteng Cricket, for the Johannesburg public, suite holders and cricket clubs that the Wanderers is back on the map."