David Teeger: The SAJBD's letter to the ICC

Removal of u19 captain prima facie a case of antisemitic discrimination, Board says

Text of the Letter from the Jewish Board of Deputies to the International Cricket Council

17 January 2024 Mr Greg Barclay

Chairman of the Board of Directors International Cricket Council

Dear Mr Barclay

On 12 January, Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced that David Teeger had been removed as captain of the u19 South African side for the upcoming u19 World Cup. The reason given was alleged concerns over security, since according to CSA expected protests by demonstrators “could result in conflict or even violence, including between rival groups of protestors.”

Following this announcement, CSA has repeatedly been asked for clarification on the security and intelligence reports that led to the conclusion that the SA Under 19 captain must be stripped of his captaincy, but remain as a team player. These reports are essential to evaluate whether CSA has upheld its responsibility within the family of nations of the ICC. The ICC has a duty to assess whether other teams are in danger. If it is not safe for the SA Captain, how safe is it for other teams’ players? However, no such information was forthcoming from CSA so how has ICC been able to evaluate this?

Yesterday (16 January) the SA Jewish Board of Deputies met with the management of CSA, headed by chairperson of its board of directors Lawson Naidoo. Once again, CSA categorically failed to provide any credible evidence that there had been any real security threats to the upcoming tournament due to David Teeger being captain of the SA team. This, together with CSA’s vacillating and contradictory responses to the questions put to them reinforces our

conviction that the ‘security concerns’ excuse is a trumped up and bogus one. Never before has a captain been stripped of his position due to security concerns.

According to the Daily Maverick, a credible and influential news and discussion forum, a prominent security company with vast experience in personal and event security, including at the highest governmental level, was asked for its input.

Their expert opinion was that the threat to Teeger or anyone else at the World Cup “was close to zero”. Even if there had been credible information of possible protest action, these should be easily controlled with even a modicum of planning by law enforcement. Had it chosen CSA could also have taken appropriate steps to deal with it, such as moving the games or providing additional security.

We raise this in connection to the ICC’s 2021 revised `International Cricket Council Tournament Safety Planning Framework’, whose stated purpose is to “develop safety processes for ICC events/tournaments founded on a mature appreciation of intelligence” and where it said to be “critical … to ensure that there is a clear line of sight between a comprehensive intelligence risk assessment that informs the formulation of tournament safety plans.” In this regard, CSA has clearly been derelict.

We have further noted disturbing press reports strongly suggesting that CSA’s decision was politically motivated. The SA team met with the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Minister Zizi Kodwa on Tuesday, 9 January, and on Friday 12 January David Teeger was removed as SA u19 captain. In light of the ICC’s rules against political interference, in particular how seriously this was taken in relation to Sri Lanka towards the end of last year, we ask for this to be investigated.

Since there appears to be no basis to the CSA’s alleged concerns about security, and further taking into account the strong possibility of political interference on the part of the South African government being involved, one is all but forced to conclude that David Teeger was stripped of his captaincy due to his being a Jewish person who at a private Jewish communal event had expressed support for the State of Israel and its armed forces following the 7 October terror attacks against the country and the ongoing war resulting from that. This is despite an independent investigation initiated by CSA itself and conducted by the eminent Advocate Wim Trengove having found that Teeger had not contravened CSA’s code of conduct.

The removal of David Teeger as SA u19 captain would thus appear at least prima facie to constitute unfair discrimination against a member of the Jewish community on the part of Cricket SA. This in turn suggests that CSA may have contravened the ICC Anti-Discrimination Policy for International Cricket. We would remind you that the stated purpose of this policy is to “promote and encourage participation at all levels regardless of race, colour, religion, descent, culture, ethnic origin, nationality, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, marital status and/or maternity status and to ensure that there is no discrimination in the sport”.

We request as a matter of urgency that the ICC launch an immediate investigation into this matter and that once this investigation is completed the ICC enforce its code of conduct and principles and engage with the CSA to confirm that David Teeger is restored to his rightful place as SA u19 captain.

Yours sincerely,

Zev Krengel

Prof Karen Milner
National Chairperson