Hansie Cronje ban stays, confirms UCBSA

Published: Wednesday, January 9, 2002, 23:53 [IST]
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Johannesburg: The United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) on Tuesday reiterated its position that disgraced former captain Hansie Cronje has been banned for life and will stay that way, following a board meeting.

This followed remarks by UCBSA president Percy Sonn while on tour in Australia with South Africa's national team last week that Cronje should be given a role within the sport - seen as signalling a possible return to the game by Cronje, In a statement released on Tuesday afternoon, the UCB said that "contrary to interpretations in the media", Sonn was not called in after his comments to face the executive, nor was it a disciplinary meeting. "Sonn certainly never proposed that the ban on Hansie Cronje be lifted," UCBSA spokeswoman Bronwyn Wilkinson told public radio SABC. "What he had said was very much along the lines of what the UCBSA said, right at the start when the ban resolution was passed, that the UCBSA recognises that people can be rehabilitated and that this could be considered in future." The UCBSA's executive committee met in Johannesburg with Sports Minister Ngconde Balfour, who expressed his support for the Board, the national team and for the transformation process. The UCBSA also expressed regret that its transformation policies had not always been made clear to the public. Sonn caused a furore in Australia when he rejected the side selected for the third Test and insisted that a black player, Justin Ontong, be chosen. But according to UCBSA policy, Sonn was acting within his rights as a black player on the fringes of the side is to be given an opportunity once a Test series has been decided. Sonn intimated that coach Graham Ford should bear the brunt for the 0-3 Test drubbing and be replaced, but the UCBSA stated that it fully supported Ford, his assistant Corrie van Zyl and skipper Shaun Pollock. The criticism levelled at the Sonn by a number of former players, including former star Clive Rice, was also dealt with at the meeting. "The UCBSA values their expertise and experience and invites them to make a contribution to South African cricket in a positive manner. "If there are issues - particularly around transformation - that these former players do not fully understand, the UCBSA would be happy to engage them in discussions," the Board said.

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