SA could become sporting pariah of world – IRR

Years of mismanagement and political and governmental interference have eroded core values

Racism and mismanagement risk turning SA into the sporting pariah of the world once again – IRR

2 September 2020

The IRR will today write to the Board of Directors of the International Cricket Council (ICC) to ask it to investigate and consider action against Cricket South Africa (CSA) for failings of membership in terms of Article 2.10 of the ICC Constitution.

This is not done lightly. Over several years, CSA has increasingly strayed from the values of the ICC, set out as follows:

Fairness and Integrity
Respect for diversity
Commitment to the global game and its great spirit

Years of mismanagement and political and governmental interference have eroded these values.

Fairness has given way to ideological agendas, integrity to political opportunism and manipulation. Excellence has been compromised by placing sporting achievement second to political decision-making. A lack of accountability has meant allegations of malfeasance have remained unaddressed, while allowing these problems to escalate to a point where blatant racism is now CSA policy, putting paid to any ambition to respect diversity. Cumulatively, these failures have diminished the spirit of the game of cricket and tarnished the image of the sport.

By thus failing to respect and further the objects set out in terms of Clause 5 of the ICC Constitution, CSA has contravened Articles 2.4(A), (D), (E), and (I) of the ICC Constitution.

CSA has further erred as an entity in terms of the ICC’s Anti-Discrimination Policy for International Cricket.

South Africa has before endured the censure of the international sporting community for pursuing racist policies. This brought significant pressure on South African decision-makers to abandon discrimination and embrace non-discriminatory, inclusive policies. The increasingly worrying actions of CSA once again risk turning South Africa into a racial pariah.

Said IRR deputy head of policy research Hermann Pretorius: “The tragedy of this situation is that organisations like CSA have lost touch with the South African people. Research by the IRR, the leading voice for a non-racial, tolerant and free South Africa for nearly a century, shows that a vast majority of South Africans, more than 80%, want sport to be based on merit and not on race. The destructive re-racialisation of South African sport is a dangerous backwards step and leaves honest, decent South Africans with little choice but to insist on drastic action to right these absurd wrongs.

“When Nelson Mandela quoted the work of the IRR from the stand in the Rivonia trial, he made the case for a non-racial future to ordinary South Africans, not just those in the courtroom. Mandela understood how sport could be a great unifier. It is a disgraceful regression that, 25 years after the unifying potential of sport was so powerfully illustrated to the nation and the world at Ellis Park, South African sport can return to policies in 2020 that would not be out of place in a Verwoerdian country where racial discrimination was official policy.”

The IRR will engage with CSA and other relevant entities and persons, and will pursue such avenues it considers necessary, legal and otherwise, to ensure this affront to non-racial liberty is righted.

Issued by Hermann Pretorius, IRR Deputy Head of Policy Research, 2 September 2020