New ruling blow for SA rebel cricketers
Cricket South Africa has closed the door on players wanting to join India’s planned unofficial Twenty20 league.
A decision taken at a general council meeting on Friday means that Nicky Bojé, Lance Klusener, Johan van der Wath and Loots Bosman, who have all been linked to the breakaway Indian Cricket League (ICL), will be in breach of contract with their franchises .
Norman Arendse, president of CSA, said it was necessary for contracted players to get written consent from their franchises or from CSA if they wished to be released from their South African contracts.
“It is a requirement of both the CSA administrative conditions and the memorandum of understanding between CSA and the SA Cricketers’ Association,” said Arendse.
“At the meeting, it was agreed that none of the franchises would give such permission for players to join an organisation which is not sanctioned by the International Cricket Council.”
The CSA decision is another blow to the ICL, which has already postponed a planned launch this month and which is under threat from an officially sanctioned Indian league announced last month. Arendse said media talk of possible bans for players joining the ICL was premature. “At this stage all we have decided is to withhold permission for players wanting to join.”
But players would risk legal consequences if they broke their contracts.
Bojé, Van der Wath and Bosman were all on a list of contracted players released by the Eagles franchise recently, while Klusener was named in the Dolphins squad for the domestic season, which starts with a full round of SuperSport Series matches from Thursday. The Dolphins and Eagles are due to play each other in Durban.
While players joining rebel leagues face possible sanctions, those who sign Kolpak contracts in England will still be welcome in South Africa. Arendse said legal advice was that there was nothing in the Kolpak agreement, which is primarily a legal ruling on trade rights, to stop a player on a Kolpak contract from playing for SA.
“Players who join English counties are required to sign an affidavit renouncing their rights as a South African player, but our legal advice is that this is illegal and not part of the Kolpak ruling,” he said.
CSA mandated Arendse and chief executive Gerald Majola to discuss the issue with the English board.
“For instance, we do not believe we should be precluded from picking someone like Jacques Rudolph for our national team while he is still under contract to Yorkshire.”
Rudolph signed a three-year Kolpak deal with the county earlier this year. Arendse said the condition limiting franchises to fielding a maximum of two Kolpak players would be reviewed.
Earlier, at a joint meeting between the general council and the board of CSA (Pty) Ltd, the professional arm of cricket, it was agreed that the current transformation policy would remain in place, although the issue would be put before CSA’s transformation review committee with a view to being further debated by the council.
Arendse said there was a long debate during which submissions by himself, the Players’ Association and independent director Paul Harris were discussed. The players recommended that selection be on merit alone, while businessman Harris expressed his concerns about the way recent selection issues had been handled.
“The players are key stakeholders and we need to listen to what they say, but we shouldn’t be compelled into a knee-jerk reaction,” said Arendse.
“The debate is still on the table but at the meeting there was an overwhelming sense of commitment to the transformation policy, which is a part of the national constitution,” he said.