South Africa news March 21, 2012

Damage control a priority for CSA - Basson

ESPNcricinfo staff

Dr. Willie Basson, the Cricket South Africa acting president, has said that the "complex process" of controlling the damage to the board's reputation will be a priority in light of the bonus controversy which has already led to the suspension of chief executive Gerald Majola.

Majola was suspended after the CSA board of directors met on Saturday to discuss the findings of a government inquiry into the payment of unauthorised bonuses related to the 2009 IPL. Basson said that the board would deal with the impact of the decisions taken on Saturday at its next meeting on March 30.

Basson also said that the government inquiry chaired by retired High Court judge Chris Nicholson would have a big influence on sports administration in South Africa. "The importance of the Nicholson report and the watershed impact it is going to have not only on cricket but on all sport federations in the country cannot be ignored.

"In addition, the complex process of damage control of CSA's reputation and image on the basis of systematic and on-going communication with stakeholders will be important focus areas."

Basson admitted that the image of the game in the country had been adversely affected but expressed confidence that the system was strong enough to deal with the issues. "CSA is under no illusion that cricket is beleaguered and that its image and reputation have been dented over an extended period of time. However, the inherent robustness of the system, the strength of its regional structures in place together with the quality of its human resource base has proven over many years that the capacity to deal with problems exists.

"The process will require cool heads, a high level of professionalism, above-average teamwork and a systematic approach to resolve the burning issues facing the organisation while at the same time laying the foundation for a 'reinvented' cricket system.

"Let us not forget that in the not too distant [past] cricket was consistently judged as the most professionally run sports organisation in the country. I am confident that the current board will rise to the occasion and demonstrate their inherent professionalism and all-round ability to stabilise the situation and to pilot the ship forward into calmer waters as a cohesive unit."

Basson said that transformation was also a priority area for the board and that a fund to support transformation initiatives at provincial level had been established. "CSA is well positioned to deal with this challenge as the Board has recently in-principle approved a model that will be considered by the Transformation Committee tomorrow for immediate implementation. The model is based on CSA's experiences over a long period and in-depth research over the past year."

Basson, who took over as acting president after AK Khan's resignation, said that his purpose was to bridge the disparity between professionalism on the field and off it in cricket. "A personal motivation for my decision to become involved is a long-standing concern for the large gap between the level of professionalism, dedication and motivation of the 'on-the field' activities as opposed to the 'off-the field' activities of sports organisations. From a cricketing perspective this obvious weakness has to be aggressively addressed. The time has come for those responsible for guiding and executing 'off-the-field' activities to have better game plans executed more effectively and efficiently".