Standard Bank summons Cricket SA to explain ban on journalists

UNHAPPY WITH COVERAGE: Cricket South Africa CEO Thabang Moroe
UNHAPPY WITH COVERAGE: Cricket South Africa CEO Thabang Moroe

Cricket SA was summoned to a meeting late on Monday by its biggest sponsor, Standard Bank, after the ongoing fallout from its attempt to ban five journalists from covering Mzansi Super League games on Sunday.

Cricket SA’s decision was condemned by the SA National Editors Forum (Sanef) and the SA Cricketers’ Association.

The bank is the title sponsor of the SA men’s Test and ODI teams. It also looks after some of Cricket SA’s development projects.

“In recognition of the widespread interest in and support for cricket‚ we value the right of South Africans and the broader cricket community to know about developments within Cricket SA‚ especially those that relate to governance and conduct‚” Standard Bank chief marketing officer Thulani Sibeko said in a statement.

Stuart Hess‚ Ken Borland‚ Neil Manthorp‚ Telford Vice and Firdose Moonda had their accreditations revoked by Cricket SA.

Hess was not able to attend the Jozi Stars vs Paarl Rocks game at the Wanderers, while Manthorp‚ Moonda and Vice were denied access at Newlands to cover the Cape Town Blitz vs Tshwane Spartans fixture.

Cricket SA CEO Thabang Moroe admitted in a radio interview that the accreditations were revoked because it was unhappy with the reporting by various media outlets.

Sanef said in a statement that Cricket SA’s actions must be fiercely resisted.

“Sanef believes Cricket SA’s actions will have a chilling effect on the media’s ability to cover all aspects of cricket‚ not just what happens on the field of play‚ but also what happens behind closed doors where the sport is administered.

“Cricket SA’s actions smack of bullying‚ are unacceptable and must be fiercely resisted to preserve the independence of the media and journalists’ ability to report without fear or favour‚” the statement said.

“Moroe’s statements are deeply concerning. Journalists must be allowed to do their job of holding those in power accountable without fear of intimidation or that they will be prevented from doing their job.”

SA Cricketers’ Association CEO Tony Irish said: “It’s a sorry state of affairs when attempts are made to silence respected journalists for writing about the ongoing problems in the game.”

The association is locked in a legal battle with CSA over the restructuring of the domestic game from the 2020/2021 season. — TimesLIVE