No action against South African players who threatened boycott

March 5th, 2008 - 12:48 pm ICT by admin  

By Fakir Hassen
Johannesburg, March 5 (IANS) No action will be taken against the South African cricket players who threatened to boycott the current tour of Bangladesh because of quota issues. The controversial president of Cricket South Africa (CSA), Norman Arendse, has himself become a mediator after earlier facing rebellion from players who defended the decision by coach Mickey Arthur and the selectors to take fewer black players to Bangladesh.

Arendse had reportedly tried to change the team in his interpretation of the CSA transformation quota aimed at giving previously excluded players opportunities.

The matter was resolved only after an acrimonious public spat between Arthur, Arendse and eventually also the chief executive of CSA, Gerald Majola, who overrode Arendse’s interventions despite being a subordinate.

While the internal parties have resolved their dispute, the parliamentary portfolio committee on sport called last week for the players who had threatened the boycott to be summarily dismissed.

The Afrikaans weekly Rapport said the committee had expressed dissatisfaction over the lack of transformation at CSA as well as the fact that white players were holding South African cricket hostage.

Arendse dismissed this request and called for a truce.

Until Friday, tensions were still high that a majority of the provincial cricket union heads would have supported a motion of no confidence in Arendse at a specially called general meeting.

After the parliamentary meeting, Majola dropped the plans for a special meeting, but he and Arendse had to present a document by the end of this week to an audit committee of CSA, clearly outlining their different roles.

There has also been a decision that the selectors would have to review their choices if Arendse did not approve of the squad they chose for the tour to India later this month.

If the same team as the one for Bangladesh is selected, the matter will be referred to the management committee of CSA for resolution.

Commentators here said this was a welcome move to avoid a similar situation as the Bangladesh debacle when the team was announced literally on the eve of their departure for the country.

But they also expressed concern that the same race quota issues were likely to arise for the India side, with Arthur determined to include the best players on merit, rather than complying with the quota demands that Arendse is expected to insist on.

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