Cricket SA chief executive Gerald Majola has reacted with shock at the resignation of CSA president Norman Arendse on Wednesday.
“It is with surprise and regret that I received the news of Arendse’s resignation as president of Cricket South Africa, as he gave no prior indication that he was going,” said Majola. “It is also with surprise and regret that I have learnt that he has cited irretrievable differences between us as one of the reasons for his resignation.”
Earlier at a press briefing at Newlands Cricket Stadium in Cape Town, Arendse said that mistrust of him by the cricket board was the main issue. “I never at any stage enjoyed the full trust and confidence of the CEO, and all 11 affiliates,” he said.
He said the relationship between himself and Majola had broken down irretrievably due to “sharply contrasting positions” between them. “Should we continue in this way, there is a real danger that cricket may be plunged into a crisis, and the game be brought into disrepute.”
Majola countered by saying that the differences between Arendse and himself were of management style and hardly irretrievable in his view. “However, I respect his decision to resign.”
Arendse’s resignation as CSA president and from his International Cricket Council positions came with immediate effect. He felt he was merely serving a ceremonial function, there to preside over meetings and to attend matches and functions. His three year term was scheduled to end in August 2010.
he said six of the 11 CSA affiliates appeared not to support him and his transformation agenda. They had battled to come to terms with transformation and, in some instances, transformation was completely lacking and remained a foreign concept. Those affiliates who did back him – Western Province, Boland, Eastern Province, Border, and KwaZulu-Natal – had traditionally been supportive of change in cricket as they had come from the non-racial organisations under the umbrella of Sacos, and its successor the National Sports Congress.
“The CEO, and others, have done well to exploit these differences and, as a result, six of these affiliates have apparently indicated that they no longer have confidence in me.”
Arendse rejected charges that he wanted to take over the CEO’s job and that he acted unilaterally at the level of the International Cricket Council. “I have a more than full-time legal practice and have no wish or desire, let alone the time, to run cricket. I have always been a part-time, unpaid, honorary official who served the game in the public interest.”
He said he had at all times requested the CSA board’s input on important matters and had consulted the CEO “extensively” on Zimbabwe and Pakistan. It would not make sense for him to put the administration of the game under pressure due to his “fundamental (and irresolvable) differences” with Majola.
Arendse said unity in the game could only be achieved once it had been rid of self-serving administrators who sought to preserve the status quo, based on inequality and privilege, and those who continually manipulated the historical divisions in sport. Many administrators were elected on the basis of the particular agenda they served and not on the basis of their ability to make a meaningful contribution to the game. “As a consequence, many of our best, and most able, administrators languish on the sidelines, marginalised because their only interest is the best interests of the game.” Although the professional side of cricket appeared to be in good shape, with all Champions League monies flowing into CFA coffers, huge challenges remained at grassroots level.
“Our schools, rural, and club cricket is in a mess; and funding for grassroots amateur cricket needs to be increased exponentially. This requires the budget of CSA to be totally transformed to address the real and tangible needs of the previously disadvantaged, the less privileged, needy and poor cricketers,” he added. Arendse was executive board member of the ICC, director of the ICC’s commercial arm IDI, chairman of the ICC’s human resources and remuneration committees and member of its governance committee.