PtG Article 08.09.2006

Undemocratic cricket constitution rejected in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Cricket has run into difficulties after the country’s Sport and Recreation Commission (SRC) has refused to endorse its new draft constitution because it is undemocratic.

In January this year, the government in Zimbabwe took over the running of Zimbabwe Cricket and appointed an interim board to run it. The board was given the task to reorganise the game and come up with a new constitution.

And so it did. In July the board presented a controversial proposal which would give the government full control over national cricket and take away all power from regional associations. 

The Zimbabwe Independent has published parts of the draft constitution. And according to the proposal, the government should appoint seven of 12 board members. The rest would be appointed by the provincial associations. The government appointees would serve a term of four years, whereas the provincial appointees should serve on a rotational basis for two years.

The draft constitution also proposed that it should be illegal for the provincial appointees to pass a vote of no confidence in the national board or any of its members.

The Zimbabwe Independent quotes a top cricket official for saying that such a constitution is necessary because it was through government intervention that stability would be achieved in Zimbabwe.

The International Cricket Council is not worried

The draft constitution has been heavily criticised for making the board unaccountable and promote a government take-over of cricket but that does not worry the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Malcolm Speed, chief executive of ICC, says it is not abnormal in cricket culture for governments to have influence over cricket administration and that the ICC does not prescribe to its members how they should be governed.

“Each member has a different structure and different culture. In Pakistan the president appoints board members. There is in fact a one-man board there. In Sri Lanka the government also appoints board members,” he said to journalists after a visit to Zimbabwe over the summer.

However, now the Sport and Recreation Commission has sent the cricket constitution back to the drawing board and at the same time it has extended the tenure of the interim board to the end of the year.