Sport

CSA DRAMA

OUT! Cricket SA sacks Clive Eksteen as heads begin to roll

OUT! Cricket SA sacks Clive Eksteen as heads begin to roll
Clive Eksteen. (Photo: Lee Warren / Gallo Images)

Eksteen said that he would be consulting his lawyers on Monday and was not in a position to comment at this stage.

Clive Eksteen, the former head of sales and sponsor relations at Cricket South Africa (CSA), had his employment terminated with immediate effect on Sunday 14 June following a lengthy disciplinary dispute.

In an unusually strongly-worded statement, CSA claimed its decision to terminate Eksteen’s employment was over a “transgression of a serious nature,” although it did not elaborate further.

Eksteen, a former Proteas spin bowler, has maintained his silence over allegations that he failed in his duties when commercial rights fees owing to players for their part in the Mzansi Super League (MSL) went unpaid last year.

At the time, tensions were heightened at CSA under the leadership of the now-suspended chief executive Thabang Moroe. He is also facing disciplinary action over issues of poor corporate governance that among other things, led the organisation into a court case with the South African Cricketers Association (Saca).

Saca recently dropped court action against CSA following Moroe’s decision to restructure the domestic game in late 2018 without consulting Saca. That decision was reversed following the recommendations of a steering committee review chaired by former International Cricket Council chairman Dave Richardson.

“The presiding officer found Mr Eksteen guilty of transgressions of a serious nature and his relationship and employment with CSA has therefore been summarily terminated (summary dismissal) with immediate effect,” a CSA statement on Sunday read.

When approached by Daily Maverick for comment, Eksteen said that he was consulting with his lawyers on Monday and was not in a position to comment at this stage.

In October 2019, Eksteen along with then interim director of cricket Corrie van Zyl and chief operating officer Naasei Appiah, were suspended on Moroe’s watch. Van Zyl was cleared and has returned to work while Appiah and Eksteen both lost their initial cases and appealed. Appiah’s appeal is still ongoing.

In a tumultuous few weeks at the end of 2019, Moroe’s tenure, which was characterised by growing financial losses and unilateral decisions, ended in his suspension pending a forensic investigation into CSA’s affairs.

The current forensic audit into CSA’s affairs, which includes a projected R654-million loss by 2022 when the existing international broadcast cycle ends, has been ongoing for more than six months and not been finalised.

Four board members resigned and Standard Bank announced it would not be renewing its R80-million a year CSA sponsorship over concerns about CSA’s poor corporate governance. Moroe also revoked the accreditation of five journalists critical of the organisation in a miscalculated power play.

Eksteen’s exact transgression remains mysterious. If he failed to pay over image rights to players, as claimed, he would almost certainly have been acting on instruction from above.

When this issue came to a head in December 2019, Saca did not indicate that Eksteen was personally responsible for the impasse. It blamed CSA and did not name individuals.

The current forensic audit into CSA’s affairs, which includes a projected R654-million loss by 2022 when the existing international broadcast cycle ends, has been ongoing for more than six months and not been finalised. There is concern that members of the CSA board, who were complicit in their inability to provide oversight to Moroe’s decisions, don’t want the outcome made public.

The glacial pace of the investigation, which is being undertaken by forensic services company Fundudzi, has raised the ire of Saca.

“It appears as if the Covid-19 pandemic is being used as a convenient excuse for the delay, in spite of the fact that CSA is operationally fully functional at the moment,” Saca CEO Andrew Breetzke said last week. 

“There appears to be a distinct lack of will at board level to deal with this matter, despite the dire need for finality on this material issue for all stakeholders in cricket. It is interesting to note that there were no such delays in dealing with the numerous other CSA disciplinary matters.

“CSA will point to the forensic audit that has not yet been completed, despite the fact that the crises that have enveloped CSA over the past 18 months are evidence of a prima facie case against Moroe.

“It is hard to imagine another professional environment where such vacillation on a matter of such importance would be tolerated by a board of directors.”

CSA responded in a statement: “CSA assures all stakeholders that the rest of the outstanding disciplinary cases will also be concluded soon‚ so that the situation around these matters can soon be stabilised.

“We view the conclusion of this disciplinary matter as critical for our progression and as a necessary step towards ensuring that CSA enters a new trajectory of firmly focusing on serving the game of cricket.” DM

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