International games return to Wanderers after IPL dispute

August 12th, 2009 - 11:29 pm ICT by IANS  

By Fakir Hassen
Johannesburg, Aug 12 (IANS) Relieved South African cricket fans have welcomed the news that international games will return to the premiere Wanderers Stadium here after Cricket South Africa (CSA) earlier banned games there in the wake of a dispute with the provincial Gauteng Cricket Board (GCB), which controls the venue.

The three forthcoming matches against England, which were rescheduled to other stadiums across the country, have been reinstated after the resolution of the dispute following intervention by Sports Minister Makhenkesi Stofile.

The three matches - a Twenty20 game, a One-Day International and a Test match - were withdrawn from the Wanderers in a bitter public spat over CSA’s handling of the Indian Premiere League (IPL) II that was played out here recently because of security concerns during the Indian elections.

There had been allegations that CSA’s refusal to show its contract with the IPL was because there was something it wanted to keep secret. This resulted in CSA president Mtutuzeli Nyoka banning internationals at the Wanderers until GCB management had tendered an apology to CSA management and the IPL.

“This is exactly what we as fans felt all along,” remarked Mohamed Saleje, at a popular restaurant where matches are shown live on television for mainly Indian and Pakistani fans in the suburb of Fordsburg.

Salejee was commenting on remarks by minister Stofile that cricket was an asset belonging to all South Africans, not to the CSA or GCB.

A peripheral controversy that resulted from the spat between the two bodies was a number of local cricket associations representing the Black, Coloured and Indian communities threatening to form their own provincial body after they claimed that GCB was not doing enough to transform cricket from its previous Whites-only status in the apartheid era.

This has also been addressed in the resolution of the dispute, as CSA and GCB have agreed on steps to transform cricket in the province.

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