Stan­dard Bank sum­mons Cricket SA

Cricket chiefs un­der fire from ed­i­tors fo­rum and play­ers as­so­ci­a­tion for re­vok­ing jour­nal­ists’ ac­cred­i­ta­tion

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Cricket SA was sum­moned to a meet­ing late on Mon­day by its big­gest spon­sor, Stan­dard Bank, amid the on­go­ing fall­out from its at­tempt to ban five jour­nal­ists.

Cricket SA (CSA) was sum­moned to a meet­ing late on Mon­day by its big­gest spon­sor, Stan­dard Bank, as the fall­out con­tin­ues from its bid to ban five jour­nal­ists from cov­er­ing Mzansi Su­per League games.

Cricket SA’s de­ci­sion was greeted by wide con­dem­na­tion from the SA Na­tional Ed­i­tors Fo­rum (Sanef)‚ the SA Crick­eters’ As­so­ci­a­tion (Saca) and the na­tion’s cricket lovers.

The bank is the ti­tle spon­sor of the men’s Test and ODI teams, and looks af­ter some of Cricket SA’s de­vel­op­ment projects.

In a state­ment is­sued on Mon­day‚ Stan­dard Bank group chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer Thu­lani Sibeko said the bank needs to be aware of what takes place from an ad­min­is­tra­tive perspectiv­e.

“In recog­ni­tion of the wide­spread in­ter­est in and sup­port for cricket‚ we value the right of South Africans and the broader cricket com­mu­nity to know about de­vel­op­ments within Cricket SA‚ es­pe­cially those that re­late to gov­er­nance and con­duct‚” Sibeko said.

Stu­art Hess‚ Ken Bor­land‚ Neil Man­thorp‚ Telford Vice and Fir­dose Moonda had their ac­cred­i­ta­tions re­voked by Cricket SA.

Hess was not able to at­tend the Jozi Stars vs Paarl Rocks Mzansi Su­per League (MSL) game at the Wan­der­ers, while Man­thorp‚ Moonda and Vice were de­nied ac­cess at Newlands to cover the Cape Town Blitz vs Tsh­wane Spar­tans fix­ture.

In a ra­dio in­ter­view‚ Cricket SA CEO Tha­bang Moroe ad­mit­ted the ac­cred­i­ta­tions were re­voked be­cause the or­gan­i­sa­tion is unhappy with the re­port­ing in var­i­ous me­dia out­lets.

In a state­ment‚ Sanef said Cricket SA’s ac­tions must be fiercely re­sisted.

“Sanef be­lieves Cricket SA’s ac­tions will have a chill­ing ef­fect on the me­dia’s abil­ity to cover all as­pects of cricket‚ not just what hap­pens on the field‚ but also be­hind closed doors where the sport is ad­min­is­tered.

“Cricket SA’s ac­tions smack of bul­ly­ing‚ are un­ac­cept­able and must be fiercely re­sisted to pre­serve the in­de­pen­dence of the me­dia and jour­nal­ists’ abil­ity to re­port with­out fear or favour‚” the state­ment said.

“Moroe’s state­ments are deeply con­cern­ing. Jour­nal­ists must be al­lowed to do their job of hold­ing those in power ac­count­able with­out fear of in­tim­i­da­tion or that they will be pre­vented from do­ing their job.

“Moroe and Cricket SA have a duty to re­spect the in­de­pen­dence of jour­nal­ists with­out re­sort­ing to bully tac­tics. This is bound to have the op­po­site ef­fect of what Cricket SA and Moroe would want to achieve.”

Saca is locked in a le­gal bat­tle with Cricket SA about the re­struc­tur­ing of the do­mes­tic game, meant to take ef­fect in the 2020/2021 sea­son.

Saca has con­sis­tently said that Cricket SA had not con­sulted it prop­erly on the changes that will re­sult in the six fran­chises be­ing dis­banded. The 13 af­fil­i­ates are the main source of player pro­duc­tion.

Saca also re­cently gave Cricket SA a no­tice of dis­pute about com­mer­cial fees owed from the 2018 MSL. This led to the sus­pen­sion of three Cricket

SA of­fi­cials in COO Naa­sei Ap­piah‚ spon­sor­ship and sales head Clive Ek­steen and act­ing di­rec­tor of cricket Cor­rie van Zyl.

Saca CEO Tony Irish said what hap­pened to the five jour­nal­ists is sim­i­lar to what the as­so­ci­a­tion has en­dured from Cricket SA.

“It’s a sorry state of af­fairs when at­tempts are made to si­lence re­spected jour­nal­ists for writ­ing about the on­go­ing prob­lems in the game.

“This is not‚ how­ever‚ dis­sim­i­lar to what Saca has had to en­dure over the past nine months‚ dur­ing which we have been barred from Cricket SA sub­com­mit­tees‚ de­nied ac­cess to crit­i­cal in­for­ma­tion nec­es­sary for us to rep­re­sent the play­ers and had our agree­ments breached with im­punity ‚” Irish said. “Many of the con­cerns we have are not even re­lated to the high court ap­pli­ca­tion yet Cricket SA con­tin­ues to refuse to ad­dress them.

“Now there are added con­cerns re­lat­ing to ‘un­known se­lec­tors’ se­lect­ing the Proteas team and the bar­ring of cricket jour­nal­ists from matches.

“It is clear to us that things are get­ting worse‚ not bet­ter.”

/Syd­ney Seshibedi/Gallo

Hap­pier times: Cricket SA CEO Tha­bang Moroe, left, and Tony Irish, CEO of the SA Crick­eters As­so­ci­a­tion, dur­ing a joint me­dia brief­ing in July 2018.

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