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South Africa captain Graeme Smith, right, holds the International Cricket Council mace trophy after they defeated England on the fifth day of the third Test at Lord's in London 2017.The ICC mace is presented to the world No1 ranked Test team; South Africa by defeating England become the world's top side. —Photo: AP

South Africa is in danger of being banned from international cricket after its government said that it intended to intervene in the affairs of the sport’s national body following revelations of serious misconduct by senior officials.

The statement from sports minister Nathi Mthethwa said he had informed the International Cricket Council (ICC) of the intended action. The ICC’s constitution forbids government interference and the punishment is normally a ban from international games for the country’s teams until the national cricket body is operating independently again.

The ICC confirmed it had received notice of potential intervention from the sports ministry but no complaint of interference yet from Cricket South Africa. “Members are encouraged to resolve matters directly with their governments. We will continue to monitor the situation,” the sport’s governing body said.

The tension between the South African government and Cricket South Africa relates to a long-running investigation into the affairs of the cricket body, which resulted in the firing of CEO Thabang Moroe for serious misconduct in August.

But Cricket South Africa refused to make the report by independent investigators public and also resisted an attempt by the government-aligned South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee to conduct its own investigation into CSA.

CSA ultimately relented and publicly released a summary of the forensic investigation’s findings this month, more than two months after it received the report. CSA was also forced to hand over the full report, nearly 500 pages long, to a committee of South African lawmakers last week after they demanded to see it.

The parts of the report that have been publicly released revealed serious misconduct and possible acts of corruption and implicated Moroe and former chief operating officer Naasei Appiah in the wrongdoing. But lawmakers who saw all the documents questioned on Tuesday why other executives and board members at the body were not investigated, and if CSA was trying to hide wrongdoing by others.

They called it a one-sided report. CSA is currently operating with an acting president and an acting CEO, and the board has been severely criticised for failing to act to stop the misconduct during Moroe’s tenure.

Yesterday, Mthethwa said a series of meetings with CSA to try and assist CSA to stabilize its governance matters had come to nothing and accused the cricket body of being uncooperative. “I have now reached a point where I see no value in any further engagement with CSA,” Mthethwa said.

The sports minister gave cricket officials until October 27 to argue why he should not intervene. England are in talks about playing three one-day internationals and three Twenty20s in November and December in South Africa, although the proposed tour is already in jeopardy due to coronavirus restrictions. —AP


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