CSA close to new chairperson

2013-01-08 11:05

Cape Town - Almost a year after retired judge Chris Nicholson made recommendations on the make-up of Cricket South Africa's (CSA) board, a meeting on Wednesday should finally determine its structure.

“We’ve compromised from our initial Nicholson Commission recommendations - the board will be less independent - as you have to accommodate both schools of thought and move in the right direction,” said acting CEO Jacques Faul in Cape Town on Tuesday.

The commission, appointed by sports minister Fikile Mbalula in 2011, to investigate CSA’s financial wrongdoings under former CEO Gerald Majola, recommended considerably downsizing the 22-member board and include a majority membership of independent, professionally-skilled directors.

The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) held a strong view that the chairperson should be non-independent whereas the initial recommendation was that the chairperson be independent.

“We’ve finally agreed on the split between the non-independent and independent directors and now we need to agree on the chairperson. Going forward somebody has to compromise,” Faul said, hoping for a final decision to be made at Wednesday’s meeting.

“For the next 18 months, the governing structure will look different from the one before and that is still a big step in right direction.”

Faul said with such vast amounts of money involved, sponsors and the large corporates expected more professional structures to be in place.

“You need independents in sport now that it’s become such a big business," he said.

"Maybe whilst we may have a hybrid between the old way and a total independent board in 2013, this is the direction sport will be going in, in the future.”

The dispute over the chairperson arose after the former CSA president Norman Arendse was nominated for the post but because of his former involvement with cricket, he was turned down.

Having the full backing of SASCOC, he took the matter to arbitration and won his case.

“We’ve got to respect the arbitration because you don’t go through the process and then nullify the decision,” said Faul.

“We’ll honour the findings and, like all the other directors, Arendse still needs to be voted in by the Members’ Forum.

"He could still become the chairperson should the board choose to go in that direction.”

Faul admitted he and acting CSA president Willie Basson had made a few mistakes but had worked hard over the past 12 months and always had the best interests of cricket at heart.

“We could have done it better and sat down with SASCOC more and possibly worked more closely with them but, be that as it may, come 2013 we will have a new governing structure and it will have a strong independent component,” he said.

“Governing structures will evolve to make themselves more credible and more respectable and it will be interesting to see in which direction we go.”

Basson’s tenure was set to end at next month's Annual General Meeting - postponed several times until the board structure could be agreed upon - but there had been several attempts to get rid of him sooner by self-serving candidates jockeying for his position as president.

“We have to recognise Willie’s role over the last year in the restructuring of the board,” said Faul.

“He has worked harder than anyone to get the process going. Unfairly, he has been criticised about things non-related to our process but he has put in so much effort and has been the driving force behind it all.”

After offering to resign, Basson, at this stage, would still be acting president until February 2 when a new chairperson is appointed at the AGM - unless he is asked to resign at Wednesday’s meeting for his prior involvement with the pre-1994 government.

Faul admitted it had been a tough year for him as acting CEO and was still not 100 percent decided on whether he would reapply for his job.

“CSA will advertise this position - which is the right thing to do - and I need to make a decision on whether or not I will apply for it," he said.

"I haven’t made up my mind and the next couple of weeks will be very important to see if I can still play a role going forward and if I can still make a contribution.”