South Africa news January 10, 2013

SACA withdraws player action against CSA

The South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) has withdrawn player action against CSA after commitments were made to board restructure yesterday, but remain unhappy with the possibility of expanding the board.

SACA lodged a dispute with the country's Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) in November last year as it looked to force CSA to follow the recommendations of the Nicholson report. That document suggests an 11-member board with five independent directors including the chair.

CSA has opted for a 12-man structure with the same number of independents but not the chairperson and will expand the board after 18 months. Then, they will have 16 directors with seven independents and nine provincial presidents to satisfy the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) who require that all nine provinces be represented on the board.

Since SASCOC is the governing body for all sports federations in the country and the Nicholson report was a "guideline" only, CSA decided their most recent decision would be the best compromise for all parties. SACA is satisfied with most of the decisions including the non-independent chair but their chief executive, Tony Irish, hinted they could go back to the CCMA when the enlargement happens.

"The players have stood up for good governance in cricket. We have a world class national team and the players expect world class governance in the game. Yesterday's resolution by CSA to implement a 7:5 director board is not perfect, but it is a vast improvement on the existing 22 director Board.

"There has been so much politics and in-fighting within the existing board and we hope that the significant reduction in size and the higher degree of independence on the board will make it less unwieldy and political and more focused on good cricket decision-making.

"Hopefully they will appoint the best person for the chairmanship bearing in mind he is also likely to be the person who will sit on the ICC's executive board. Good cricket credentials and an understanding of the international cricket landscape are vital here."

SACA and the players are not happy, however, with the indication given that CSA will increase the Board to 16 directors in the future. We don't think there are good reasons for this and it simply moves further away from the Nicholson Report recommendations and closer to the existing structure, which we all know has been a problem. Should this actually happen it is likely to again become an issue for SACA and the players."

The players are also unhappy that acting CSA chief executive Jacques Faul will not apply for the job permanently. Faul told ESPNcricinfo he will remain in the role until a new boss is found, which is after the February 2 AGM, but then he will pursue other interests. "Jacques has done a lot for cricket in the short time that he has been acting chief executive. He has been primarily responsible for bringing sponsors back into the game despite what has gone on at board level," Irish said.

Under Faul, CSA signed major sponsors across all formats, having lost them in the throes of the bonus scandal. Although many of the contracts were already in negotiation when Faul began in the job last March, he managed to get the deals signed and there is worry in circles of South African cricket that the corporates may become nervous of CSA once again.

Sponsorship has been the only area in which the national team was directly affected by the administrative issues. They played a T20 and ODI series in 2011 against Australia without corporate backing and the domestic one-day competition that season was also unfunded.

While that did not affect player payments, potential existed for it to do so in the long-run, if companies continued to stay away from cricket. Irish does not want to run the risk of that again, hence the objection for straying too far from the Nicholson suggestions.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent