Cronje can coach, attend matches: UCBSA

Published: Sunday, April 1, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Pretoria: The United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) has now said it has no objections to disgraced former captain Hansie Cronje coaching anyone in his private capacity or attending matches played under the jurisdiction of the UCBSA as a spectator. Cronje had been banned for life by the UCBSA last year following his admission during the King Commission of Inquiry that he had accepted money and gifts from Indian and South African bookmakers. He had also revealed that he tried to bribe teammates to perform poorly. The UCBSA had said that it would do all in its power to stop Cronje from taking part in any cricket activities. The matter is now with the high court here, where papers served by the UCBSA this week seemed to indicate it had softened its stance on his involvement in the game. Cronje had earlier said the UCBSA restriction effectively meant he could not coach underprivileged children or even go to a game where his own children might one day play. He also said the ban denied him an opportunity to earn a living from the only field he had ever been involved in professionally. The UCBSA, in what seems to be an apparent turn around of its earlier stance, points out that the ban on Cronje playing, coaching, marketing or sponsoring cricket only affected activities where they were carried out by the UCBSA or its affiliates. UCBSA's legal representative Alex Abercrombie confirmed that this effectively allowed Cronje to participate in activities that are privately administered. But such opportunities are few and far between. Affiliates of the UCBSA include most schools in South Africa through the provincial membership of the UCBSA and all national and international games are also coordinated by the UCBSA. UCBSA president Percy Sonn denied that steps had been taken to hinder Cronje from finding cricket-related employment opportunities outside those of the UCBSA. "I do not know if all of Cronje's experience and skills are around cricket. I was actually under the impression that he had a university degree in business and not in sport," he said. Sonn had earlier come out strongly against Cronje's involvement in any way in cricket again, including working as a commentator for the media. Media representatives had reacted equally strongly to this saying they would not be dictated by the UCBSA on whom they could employ as a commentator. But now Sonn has said the UCBSA never indicated that Cronje would be stopped from working as a journalist or commentator. He said every application for accreditation is thoroughly checked before a decision is made, and Cronje's application would receive the same treatment. Sonn also denied that Cronje would be refused admission to cricket stadiums as a member of the public and general spectator. "In terms of the suspension resolution (against him), Cronje may not participate in activities of the UCBSA. He may therefore not be admitted to a stadium for this purpose," he said. The latest UCBSA move is being interpreted as a reconciliatory attempt, but Cronje's legal advisor Leslie Sackstein has rejected it as not going far enough and being "an attack on his (Cronje's) basic human rights." The UCBSA papers were not sufficient grounds for a settlement between the parties, Sackstein said, adding if the Board came forward with a better offer and was willing to talk about the matter, they would consider it. Extras:
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