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Ken Borland



The crude & immoral reasons behind the Lorgat witch-hunt 0

Posted on November 24, 2017 by Ken

 

And so, finally, we know why the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have been so keen to sideline Haroon Lorgat, and why English and Australian administrators sided with them in agreeing to a witch-hunt that would keep the former International Cricket Council CEO sidelined while those three countries stage a hostile takeover of the game.

 If you’re going to stage a coup that hands almost complete power in cricket to the three greedy pigs of India, England and Australia, using the flimsiest of economic reasons to justify it, then the last person you want in the boardroom is a trained chartered accountant with in-depth knowledge of the ICC and their global events, someone able to see through the efforts to bamboozle with lots of numbers, and able to rally the other nations into rejecting, with the utter contempt it deserves, the crude and immoral proposal to change the ICC’s structure.

While Lorgat’s suspension from ICC activities was ostensibly part of India’s efforts to punish him for not kowtowing to their every whim while he was the global body’s CEO, it has now become clear that the BCCI’s shameful interference in Cricket South Africa affairs was part of a much bigger plan – an evil attempt to seize control of cricket, along with England and Australia. David Becker’s ill-judged letter then provided the perfect ammunition to force Lorgat’s removal from ICC affairs.

While the players – through Fica, their international union – and fans the world over have expressed their dismay at the new low the world’s leading cricket administrators are now proposing, the aptly-named Wally Edwards, the Cricket Australia chairman and one of the three men responsible for drafting the bombshell proposal, expressed his annoyance that anybody has dared to question the bona fides of himself, Narayanaswami Srinivasan of India (the Jabba the Hutt of world cricket) and the odious Giles Clarke of England.

“Traditionally, Cricket Australia does not comment on ICC discussions it is about to have – we talk to other ICC nations across the table rather than via the media. But we were today disappointed to see the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations question whether CA and others have met their fiduciary duties as ICC members,” Edwards harrumphed.

But his feeble protestations cannot hide the fact that three nations are trying to use their current wealth to ensure a monopoly over the game that will only widen the gap between them and the rest of the cricket-playing world; cricket will become like American Football, a game reserved for the few and ignored by the rest of the world.

Which makes it clear that Edwards has not met his fiduciary duties as an ICC director. He and the other two conspirators are proposing something that is patently not in the best interests of the game as a whole, but will rather serve the narrow self-interest of three countries only.

It will take cricket back to the dark days of the Imperial Cricket Conference, where you had to be a member of the British Empire to join and England and Australia both held a veto when it came to voting on anything to do with the game.

It was only in 1993, with the formation of the International Cricket Council, that this stranglehold on the game was broken. One can only hope that when the ICC board meets at the end of this month, the other seven Full Members don’t vote themselves back into slavery again.

And while they are at it, Edwards, Srinivasan and Clarke, a former investment banker, should all be summarily fired as directors and Lorgat should be exonerated of all wrongdoing.

It’s all gone very quiet when it comes to his inquiry, by now the ICC really should have been able to find evidence if there was any unethical behaviour on his part. But then again, the evil triumvirate will have achieved what they set out to do with their spurious allegations if Lorgat is not inside the ICC Board meeting at the end of the month, having already been absent when the restructuring proposal was sprung on the other directors on January 9.

The BCCI have already issued a thinly-veiled threat to boycott ICC events like the World Cup and the World T20 if the Board does not submit to their plan for world domination.

In a statement released on Thursday, the BCCI said it had “authorised the office bearers to enter into agreements with ICC for participating in the ICC events and host ICC events, subject to the proposal being approved in the ICC Board.”

Once India have control of the international cricket schedule, along with England and Australia, there is little doubt that no cricket will be allowed to be played during the IPL, therefore ensuring the newest, least gratifying format of the game takes centre-stage.

Fortunately for cricket fans and the players, there is still hope even if the ICC Board do the unthinkable and sell-out to India, England and Australia.

If the ICC act unconstitutionally, or even if their directors are deemed to have breached the code of conduct and failed in their fiduciary duties to act in the interests of the sport and not their own narrow agendas, then there are stakeholders willing to take the matter all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Perhaps Cricket South Africa should send their independent lead director, Norman Arendse, a fiery, outspoken advocate, to shake things up at the ICC?

The governing body seems to have totally lost sight of the reason for their existence: which is to grow the game, not take it back 100 years.

And the point of the game is fair competition: the idea that India, England and Australia should be exempt from any possible Test relegation is laughable and goes against the very principles of fair play. The last five years suggest all three countries are being incredibly arrogant to presume they will remain strong on the playing field ad infinitum.

But then again the smugness currently coming out of England at their own cleverness in finding a devious way of returning to the top table of world cricket (never mind how shocking the on-field performance has been recently), bugger the rest of the world, suggests fair play is no longer the defining characteristic of cricket.

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2014-01-23-cricket-the-mystery-of-the-lorgat-witch-hunt-unravelled/#.Wh6eSFWWbIU

Naas Botha & his love for a minority sport (in SA) 0

Posted on June 18, 2015 by Ken

The SuperBowl is a television extravaganza and one of the major sporting events of the year, and yet in this country only a minority of sports fans seem to pay much attention to it. But there is one South African sporting legend who is a keen follower of gridiron and American sport in general.

Naas Botha has had a fascination for American Football since his groundbreaking move to the United States in 1983 when he tried out as a placekicker for the Dallas Cowboys. It was a sensational move by the best flyhalf in the world of rugby, from the amateur game to the different world of American pro sport.

While it helped Botha establish himself as a true professional athlete, since 1995 and the end of amateurism in rugby union, there has been little interest by other rugby players in playing American Football.

But Botha believes it won’t be long before a top-class player is lured by the promise of a massive payday in the United States.

“The problem I had when I went over was that I turned up with nothing, with no track record. Half of the people there didn’t even know where South Africa was and they thought we were wandering around with lions. The whole structure of American Football means College football is very important and they take all your stats from there.

“It would be much better now for a player to go over. The rest of the world has a much better knowledge of American Football now and I think a lot more people involved in gridiron know about rugby. Thanks to social media, I think a lot of them will even know about Handre Pollard for instance.

“Organisations like Laureus also bring a lot more attention to American sports. World sport is at a different level these days: in the U.S. they know about our top rugby players and South Africans know about what opportunities there are outside the country. Look at how many players are in France or England; compare that to when I went to play in Italy in 1987 and there was such a big hoohaa,” Botha told The Citizen.

Kicking in American Football is of course not just about distance and accuracy: Botha estimates you have about 1.2 seconds to kick a field goal and it requires a different frame of mind compared to slotting conversions and penalties in rugby. Plus one has to get used to being allowed to be tackled without the ball in gridiron, hence all the protective equipment.

It was thanks to the innovative Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry, considered a legend in American Football after 29 years at the helm of the Texan franchise, that Botha played gridiron. But it was the presence of another Cowboys stalwart, Rafael Septien, that prevented the Springbok hero from making more of an impact. Botha was brought in as the back-up kicker, but Septien rarely broke down and so his appearances were limited.

Another South African placekicker, Gary Anderson, had better fortune and became one of the NFL’s leading all-time points-scorers with the Pittsburgh Steelers, even playing against Botha once.

It remains a regret for Botha that during those couple of years of gaining splinters on the bench, he did not take up other offers that came his way, particularly from College (university) teams.

“It was a great experience, being with a big team like the Cowboys, but I was just there at the wrong time. I hung around with the Cowboys, but I should have taken one of the university contracts I was offered. I could’ve taken my experience with the Cowboys with me, built a reputation and a stats base and worked my way through the ranks, but I didn’t know the set-up then,” Botha said.

As it was, he caught game time with the Dallas Harlequins in the national championship, inspiring them to their only triumph in that second-tier competition.

So what of this year’s SuperBowl?

Botha remains a Dallas Cowboys fan and was gutted when they lost 26-21 to the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs, but he concedes the New England Patriots have what it takes to claim their fourth SuperBowl title.

“I’m still a Cowboys fan and how they lost that playoff I don’t know, they blew it. I’ve watched both the Patriots and the Seahawks this year, they’re two very good sides, both very balanced. But I went for a mini-training camp with the Patriots and they are the team to beat, they’ve been fantastic lately,” he said.

What really intrigues SuperSport’s long-time rugby analyst about American Football though is what it can teach those running rugby in South Africa.

“The United States is where sport is at a different level, they’ve shown how professional sport should be run, why try and reinvent the wheel? They have franchises and I wonder if our top rugby teams should not be privately owned? Why postpone it any longer? The unions all have schools, junior and women’s rugby all to look after as well.

“In gridiron, players are on $50 million contracts, in baseball it can be $200 million. Here, if a union wants to keep Bryan Habana, they need to offer R30 million over three years but nobody can afford it. Do we really want to see all the top South African players based overseas?”

 

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