Sonn accused of vendetta against Cronje

Published: Monday, May 21, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Johannesburg: United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) president Percy Sonn has been accused of waging a "personal vendetta" against former South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje, who has been banned for life by the Board. Les Sackstein, attorney for Cronje, told the Afrikaans weekly 'Rapport' that Sonn would clearly not rest before Cronje is completely "dehumanised". This follows an intervention by Sonn earlier in the week to stop Cronje from appearing as a speaker on June 9 at a dinner in honour of former national player Gerhardus Liebenberg. Liebenberg had invited his former captain as guest of honour and the provincial Free State cricket authority including its two representatives on the UCBSA, had no objection to this, but asked that it be referred to the UCBSA. Sonn reportedly gave a short and quick answer. He said Cronje had broken his ties with cricket through his own actions and could therefore not speak at the dinner. Sackstein, however, said it was not Cronje who had broken the ties. "Soon after Hansie (Cronje) admitted that he had received money (from bookmakers) he was informed by Dr Ali Bacher, the then managing director (of the UCBSA), that his contract had been terminated and that he was no longer part of cricket (in the country)," Sackstein said. The UCBSA and Cronje's legal team have been at loggerheads since the banning. Sonn had earlier indicated that he did not want Cronje to be involved in the sport in any way, including appearances at institutions administered by the UCBSA. Cronje has taken the banning decision to the high court in an attempt to have it rescinded. He claims cricket is the only livelihood he knows and would like to use his experience to help develop young people in the country. Meanwhile, Cronje was welcomed with open arms at his alma mater, Grey College in Bloemfontein, on Saturday at a father-son breakfast. Although he does not have children himself, Cronje told a packed school hall he was working hard towards finishing his master of business leadership degree. In a motivational address to the schoolboys and their fathers Cronje said one could never learn enough from life and that "every single one of us needs to leave footprints behind". "It's never too dark to come out of a corner when things look at their worst," Cronje said. "When South Africa some years back lost 13 Tests in-a-row, our coach told us that we had missed the lift, and we would have to climb the stairs - one at a time. Young people are inclined to look at sporting heroes, but everyone should rather try to be the best," he added. "I am hoping to be allowed into cricket again, especially at school level," Cronje said. Cronje's mentor and Grey College principal Johan Volsteedt said his name would definitely not be removed from the roll of honour in the school hall. Extras:
Match-fixing saga

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