Crickets SA’s decisions to remove David Teeger as captain condemned – SAZF

Federation says this is a blatant act of discrimination and antisemitism against a Jewish player

SAZF condemns Crickets SA decisions to remove Jewish captain

12 January 2024

The South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) vehemently condemns the recent decision by Cricket South Africa (CSA) to relieve David Teeger of his captaincy of the South African under-19 cricket team for the upcoming U19 Men's Cricket World Cup. This decision, purportedly made due to 'security' considerations as a result of the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, is a blatant act of discrimination and antisemitism against a Jewish player.

The action taken against Teeger, who is Jewish, solely based on his religious identity and personal beliefs, is deeply troubling and sets a dangerous precedent for sports in this country. It is an affront to the values of diversity, inclusivity, and the spirit of sportsmanship that cricket and indeed all sports are supposed to embody. Discrimination on the grounds of religion or personal belief is unacceptable in any form and should have no place in sports, which are supposed to unite people from diverse backgrounds and beliefs.

The rationale provided by CSA, citing concerns of 'violence' and 'safety,' is unconvincing and appears to be a thinly veiled attempt to mask the underlying discriminatory motive. The organisation has failed to explain why they are incapable or unwilling to put in place the usual security measures to ensure the safety of participants and spectators.

This decision not only unfairly penalises Teeger but also potentially endangers the principle of religious freedom and expression in sports. It is an action that cannot be justified under the guise of safety, especially without transparent evidence supporting such a claim.

The SAZF calls upon CSA to provide a full and transparent explanation for the pressure brought to bear that led to this decision. Furthermore, we demand an immediate apology from CSA to Mr  Teeger and call for his reinstatement as the captain of the South African under-19 cricket team. Failure to do so would not only be an injustice to him but also a disservice to the principles of equality and fairness.

The International Cricket Council (ICC), of which South Africa is a member, enforces strict anti-discrimination policies in cricket, focusing on eliminating any form of racism or discrimination based on race, religion, or ethnic origin. We will be calling on the ICC to investigate CSA’s blatant act of prejudice.

While many in South Africa are applauding themselves for promoting the spirit of ubuntu in the arena of international law, in truth, the line between anti-Zionism and antisemitism has clearly worn thin. The CSA has revealed the direct line from one to the other. All sports lovers in South Africa should be concerned. The ANC Government’s political hostility to Israel and its support of Hamas has created a climate in which it is entirely acceptable to target a sportsman because he is Jewish.

Issued by SAZF, 12 January 2024