Sonn to be quizzed over Cronje remarks

Published: Friday, January 4, 2002, 23:53 [IST]
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Johannesburg: South African president Percy Sonn is to be hauled before a special meeting of the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) next week to explain his remarks on a possible return to the game by banned former captain Hansie Cronje, it was announced on Friday. The UCBSA banned Cronje for life 18 months ago after admitting before a commission of inquiry that he accepted some $ 100,000 from Indian bookmakers and offered other players money to under perform. "It is a shocking statement to hear that the president says that UCBSA has forgiven Hansie because the International Cricket Council (ICC) has suspended Hansie for life," UCBSA managing director Gerald Majola told 'SABC' radio. "So whatever we do we have to consult the ICC as well, but there will be a special meeting called to let him explain whether he was talking on behalf of the South African Board or whether it's his own personal opinion," Majola added. Sonn reportedly said that South African cricket was prepared to forgive Cronje for the match-fixing and find a role for him. In October 2001, the Pretoria High Court turned down Cronje's appeal against the ban after he had argued it was unconstitutional. The ICC welcomed the decision and its president Malcolm Gray said at the time, "Eradication of corruption remains the ICC's single highest priority and the penalties imposed on those proven to have been involved must serve as a warning and a deterrent to others who might be tempted." In interviews in Australia, on the sidelines of the third Test match in Sydney, Sonn suggested it was likely Cronje would eventually be allowed to play district cricket and coach registered clubs again. "Our Board is not God in terms of determining what rehabilitation is sufficient. He is showing signs of remorse by doing some good work for an under-privileged sporting club," Sonn told the 'Daily Telegraph' newspaper. Cronje works with the Carpe Diem Sports Club for the Disabled in the Southern Cape. Sonn was not the first to suggest such a move. Early in December, the new South African skipper Shaun Pollock said, "A man who has played that much cricket has something to offer." "From our perspective, we think Hansie has a lot to offer, and maybe at some stage in years to come he could use that experience, whether it be at a kids' level or a provincial level. "To waste all that experience he has would be a waste, and maybe they (various levels in the game) can use it in some aspect," he added.

Cronje may be allowed to play district game
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