Wanderers cricket row over IPL takes new turn

The row between Cricket South Africa (CSA) and its provincial affiliate Gauteng Cricket Board (GCB) over the national body’s contract with the Indian Premier League (IPL) has taken a new turn with local Indian, black and coloured clubs reportedly threatening to form a breakaway body.

CSA has suspended all international games at the prestigious Wanderers Stadium, administered by GCB, unless the provincial body apologises for insulting top CSA officials, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the IPL. GCB had challenged the CSA over the way it had handled dealings during the IPL.

GCB has refused to apologise, insisting on seeing the contract which CSA has refused to do.

Both parties have now agreed to mediation by the Minister of Sport, Makhenkesi Stofile.

But as fans grow increasingly irate and the repercussions of the CSA decision to stop games at the Wanderers continue to flow in, local cricket clubs are reported to have met this week to consider forming a breakaway provincial arm as the impasse continues.

Insiders who refused to be named said there has been dissatisfaction within the GCB leadership for a long time now because it had not included more players from the Black, Indian ad Coloured communities.

Former provincial player Hussain Manack, who is of Indian origin, told the Afrikaans daily Beeld Saturday: “It’s not just a question of Indian and black clubs and their players being unhappy. I also received an e-mail from a provincial white player who said something drastic has to be done.”

“(GCB) prides itself on the millions invested in development, but where are the local players of colour?

“In the past few years, GCB has bought all its players of colour from other provinces.

GCB chairman Barry Skjoldhammer said he was aware that the dissenting clubs had held a meeting.

“Our annual general meeting takes place next month and then they can have the opportunity to have their say,” he said.

Among those who have reacted to the CSA decision about the Wanderers are the City of Johannesburg, and the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The City said it was “indeed a loss not only to the City but also to Johannesburg fans,” while the Chamber said it was “horrified” by the decision.

The CSA Friday announced that the matches against the visiting English team which were scheduled for the Wanderers here would not be held at the stadium because the GCB had not tendered an apology it wanted over the IPL fiasco.

The England and Wales Cricket Board is also believed to have asked CSA to reimburse the accommodation and travel costs of fans who had booked for the games at Wanderers during the forthcoming tour.

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