The turmoil at the top of South African cricket deepened on Sunday when the board’s chief executive overruled a move to sack coach Mickey Arthur as a selector in a row over racial quotas.
News 24 reports that Arthur was removed from the selection panel on Saturday at a meeting of Cricket South Africa’s general council which was chaired by CSA president Norman Arendse, who has also filed a disciplinary complaint against the Proteas coach.
But CSA chief executive Gerald Majola then slapped down Arendse by ruling that Arthur’s role as a selector was an integral part of his contract and the general council had acted beyond its remit.
“Mickey Arthur is contracted by Cricket South Africa (Pty) Ltd, and his contracted duties include being a national selector,” Majola said in a statement on Sunday on CSA’s website.
“Only the board of directors of CSA (Pty) Ltd can change this, and therefore the resolution taken at General Council’s teleconference on Saturday to remove Mr Arthur from the selection process is unconstitutional.”
The ruling was reluctantly accepted by Arendse who, in comments carried by the Sapa press agency, nevertheless disputed Majola’s right to pronounce on the council’s remit.
“I was not aware of this clause (in Arthur’s contract) and in the light of the resolution taken … by general council I informed the selectors, general council members and the coach that the coach be included in the selection deliberations for the squad to tour Bangladesh,” said Arendse.
So-called transformation targets
Arendse has been gunning for Arthur following a furious row over the provisionial 14-man squad for an upcoming tour of Bangladesh which contained only four players of colour.
Selections are expected to reflect so-called transformation targets that squads should contain at least seven players of colour in a country where whites account for little more than 10% of the population.
The squad should have been announced at the beginning of last week but Arendse refused to endorse the line-up and then became involved in a slanging match with Arthur which ended with both men filing complaints to the CSA over their alleged “abusive and disrespectful” behaviour.
Arendse has also accused Arthur of “cocking a snook” at transformation.
The chief executive confirmed that he had received both complaints which would be dealt with in due course.
“Both complaints arise out of a dispute between them regarding selection and transformation issues,” said Majola.
“Both complaints will be dealt with by CSA’s human resources process, and a statement will be issued at an appropriate time.”
Arendse has said Arthur’s position is “untenable” but the president could now end up the loser in the battle of wills given Majola’s stance.
The players are also understood to be in Arthur’s camp and there have been rumblings of a strike if the coach is forced out.
The squad for the two-Test series, beginning in Mirpur on February 22, should now be announced on Monday.
The Arthur-Arendse row carries echoes of similar disputes involving former World Cup-winning Springbok rugby coach Jake White whose failure to pick more black players drew repeated criticism from some administrators.
Following the Springboks World Cup triumph, Sports Minister Makhenkesi Stofile said that “quotas are out” although President Thabo Mbeki later said teams may have to temper the win-at-all-costs approach in order to build “a truly representative South African side.”Tweet