Opinion

CSA bonus debacle: It's just not cricket

Nickolaus Bauer

The debacle over CSA's running of the IPL in 2009 simply won't go away -- and it detracts from the state of play, writes Nickolaus Bauer.

The debacle surrounding unauthorised bonuses being paid to Cricket South Africa (CSA) executives has once again reared its ugly head, and like that teenage acne that you can’t shake—it seems as though the scandal is here to stay.

In the latest episode of the soap opera, CSA CEO Gerald Majola has orchestrated a motion of no confidence against the organisation’s president Mtutuzeli Nyoka.

His alleged sin is not including the CSA board in the majority of decisions he made, along with claiming his stipend for his duties ahead of time.

While it may seem honourable for an organisation to be getting rid of a seemingly unruly leader, this comes off the back of two years of wrangling and jockeying.

What emerged as a legitimate concern in 2009 was that members of the CSA board, including Majola, received multimillion-rand windfalls for the successful hosting of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in South Africa. It’s all Majola versus Nyoka, a simple tit-for-tat that has gone on for too long.

At first, it was Majola who was in the firing line and he was deemed to have been caught red handed with his hands in the cookie jar.

But then the pair kissed and made up on several occasions, swearing off any further battles.

How naïve we were to believe them.

For now it seems as though Majola is back in the driving seat, especially as he was only rapped over the knuckles when the infamous KPMG report into CSA’s handling of finances during the IPL was released—even though it suggests he infringed on the Companies Act.

How convenient for him that the report has now somehow gone missing.

Don’t forget, Nyoka was dismissed once before in February this year, but was later reinstated after a high court challenge.

However this time it would seem Nyoka is the one who will soon be a “dead snake”.

What is comical of course is that Nyoka was originally on Majola’s side when the scandal broke in 2009 after the Gauteng Cricket Board (GCB) first alleged the controversial CEO had handled matters badly during the IPL.

For their efforts, Nyoka slapped the GCB with an international cricket ban and Johannesburg fans of the wood and willow missed out on action against England in the summer of 2009/2010.

While I don’t think it will reach a stage where something like that happens again, it’s never a good thing to see the supposed leaders of the game airing their dirty laundry in public.

In the words of 10CC I don’t like cricket—I love it; but these jokers who constantly feed the South African sport-loving public drivel on a weekly basis are sapping my enthusiasm.

You may argue that what happens in the boardroom doesn’t affect the action on the pitch, but I have to argue the opposite.

While the upper echelons of CSA management have been arguing over who owns what piece of the pie, the players have been left to pick up the pieces. A case in point is captain Graeme Smith’s ill-timed departure to Ireland to be with this fiancé after the Proteas were bundled out of the World Cup by New Zealand. Who in their right mind would allow the captain to abandon a team that has just been mortally wounded? Smith subsequently apologised, and said he had cleared it with management ahead of the tournament.

I only pray that either Minister of Sports and Recreation Fikile Mbalula intervenes, or by some miracle the whole CSA board resigns—including Nyoka and Majola. There is nothing like a good executive purge to rid an organisation of bad eggs. But to be honest, we have more chance of Leonard Chuene finally admitting he got the whole Caster Semenya fiasco wrong—we all know how South Africans love to admit they’re mistaken.

Maybe we should wait until they hire a responsible board that will have cricket instead of cash on their minds. Either that or wait for the Proteas to win a World Cup.

My bet is on the latter—how long until 2015?


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