18 June 2019

Zimbabwe: Zc, SRC On Collision Course

THE Sports and Recreation Commission and Zimbabwe Cricket are set for a protracted battle after the local cricket mother-body was given until midday today to explain the decision to hold their elective Annual General Meeting in Victoria Falls last Friday despite a directive from the Government to suspend the processes.

The Sports Commission gave a directive to stop the elective AGM citing various irregularities including the violation of the association's constitution and a pending court challenge in one of their provinces.

However, ZC have warned that the move by the Sports Commission could court trouble from the International Cricket Council if it is interpreted as Government interference.

ICC have zero tolerance to Government interference in the sport.

Sports Commission Board chairman Gerald Mlotshwa yesterday said their position could not be interpreted as interference. He said ZC defied their order and gave them a 12noon deadline today to explain the decision to continue with the elections despite the directive.

"The Sports and Recreation Commission is a statutory body enacted as such by an Act of the Parliament of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe Cricket applied for, and was registered as a national sports association by the SRC.

"In so applying for registration, and upon being registered as a national sports association, Zimbabwe Cricket placed itself under the jurisdiction and authority of the SRC. As such, it is incumbent upon ZC to implement any lawful directive from the SRC.

"On Thursday, 13th June, 2019 the SRC directed that ZC suspend the holding of its elective AGM following allegations of irregularity in the nomination processes of certain provinces, including Mashonaland Central where the elections had been nullified by a Court Order.

"ZC notwithstanding this lawful order, proceeded with its elective AGM. SRC has of today (yesterday) this 17th written to ZC, in terms of Section 30 of the SRC Act, requiring it to explain why it disregarded a lawful instruction.

"ZC has up to 12noon, Tuesday, the 18th June, 2019 to respond to the SRC correspondence. The nature of that response will inform the SRC as to the appropriate disciplinary action, if any, to take.

"The SRC is committed to working closely with the International Cricket Council to ensure that decisions and actions regarding Zimbabwe Cricket are made in the best interests of the game. The ICC will be consulted and / or informed regarding any such decisions and actions.

"The correspondence from the ICC, above, does not threaten the suspension of Zimbabwe as a full member thereof; neither does it allege interference on the part of Government.

"It merely restates the position as contained in the ICC's own Articles of Association (Constitution) as amended and approved by its members on 22nd June, 2017.

"The correspondence does not amount to a licence granted to ZC by ICC to disregard the laws of Zimbabwe, or their enforcement. Indeed, the threat of suspension must never be waved in the face of the SRC by those registered national sports associations appearing to flout the laws of Zimbabwe," said Mlotshwa.

ZC were given a directive on the eve of the elective AGM but the association's chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani, who was retained together with his deputy Sylvester Matshaka, said they went ahead with the meeting after getting the greenlight from the ICC and holding further consultations with their delegates.

ZC elected 13-member board that also has former Zimbabwe international cricketer Edward Rainsford, Lincoln Bhila, Maureen Kuchocha and Lloyd Mhishi, Tafadzwa Madoro (Harare Metropolitan), Godwin Dube (Bulawayo Metropolitan), Ronald Chibwe (Mashonaland West), Godfrey Nyadongo (Manicaland), Fiona Ndlovu (Matabeleland North), Arthur Maposa (Matabeleland South) and Bornface Machuwaire (Masvingo).

ZC said they followed all the protocol and interpreted the Sports Commission's directive as government interference.

They were armed with correspondence from the ICC, which suggested that the Sports Commission could have been skating on thin ice if the world body also viewed the directive as government interference.

ICC Chief Executive, Manu Shawney, reminded Zimbabwe that member associations were obliged to always set the right environment for free and democratic elections and to manage their affairs autonomously.

Shawney warned ICC would not hesitate to hand down sanctions that include suspension of ZC if they detected any government interference.

"Article 2.4 (D) states as follows: Each member must at all times manage its affairs autonomously and ensure that there is no government (or public or quasi-public body) interference in its governance, regulation, and /or administration of cricket in its cricket playing country (including in operational matters, in the selection and management of teams, and in the appointment of coaches or supporting personnel).

"Notwithstanding the directive, I understand that the AGM took place on 14 June 2019. However, please be reminded that, to the extent that such government directive puts ZC in breach of either of the above membership obligations, the ICC Board retains the discretion to suspend ZC and/or to impose such other sanction as it sees fit, including the suspension of any right to receive financial support from the ICC, to have Zimbabwean representative teams participate in any ICC Events and to suspend the right to attend and/or vote at ICC Board and Full Council meetings," wrote Shawney at the weekend.

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