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England tour has green light from South African sports ministry

England are due to travel to South Africa on Monday to begin 10 days in quarantine

Firdose Moonda
Firdose Moonda
Eoin Morgan cuts through the off side  •  Getty Images

Eoin Morgan cuts through the off side  •  Getty Images

England's tour to South Africa remains green-lit by the country's sports ministry, even as the minister, Nathi Mthethwa, is closer to intervening in the game's governing body.
A highly-placed source told ESPNcricinfo that the six-match white-ball series, which is scheduled to start on November 27, will be played "for the sake of the players and the cricket-loving public," but that does not mean Cricket South Africa is off the hook. Instead, there remains a strong chance of Mthethwa using the National Sports and Recreation Act to step in at CSA (which could include withdrawing funding and stripping them of their status as a nationally representative body) if the members' council does not recognise the interim board. The members' council and interim board are due to meet imminently, where a final decision could be taken.
Even if the members' council fail to recognise the interim board, as has been their stance so far, ministerial action may not result in the England tour being called off. England are due to travel to South Africa on Monday to begin a 10-day quarantine. All matches will be played in a bio-secure environment in the Western Cape, with fixtures at both Newlands and Boland Park.
The series will be the first in South Africa since the country went into lockdown in March and the first international action the South African men's team have had for more than seven months. They are also due to host Sri Lanka, Australia and Pakistan and could travel to Pakistan in the 2020-21 season, and it's those fixtures that may be under threat if the members' council does not comply with the sports minister.
Mthethwa was forced to turn his attention to CSA after months of administrative issues which came to a head when the organisation refused to comply with instructions from the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), who asked for the board and executive to step aside while SASCOC conducted an inquiry into CSA's affairs. SASCOC, which is a legislatively created umbrella body under whom all South Africa's sports federations operate, then referred the matter to the ministry.
The CSA board has since stood down but the members' council, a body made up of the 14 provincial affiliate presidents, remain in place and have refused to recognise a nine-member interim board which Mthethwa was at the helm of convening. Instead, the members' council believe they are in charge of the game. CSA are in a state of crisis, with financial losses looming, important negotiations over their new broadcast deal on the horizon and they are still operating under an acting CEO. The interventions by SASCOC and now Mthethwa are aimed at stabilising the organisation.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent