Cricket news - Sports minister satisfied with CSA for now

A government release termed the meeting with members council as "constructive"

A government release termed the meeting with members council as "constructive"

The minister is satisfied. For now. Having given crisis-prone CSA until Tuesday afternoon to tell him why he shouldn't put it out of business, Nathi Mthethwa has been placated by the board's mass resignation.

So the focus moves to the interim structure that Mthethwa, South Africa's minister of sport, says he will announce by the end of the week to run cricket's affairs. How much influence CSA will be able to hang onto in the establishment of that committee and its operations is a key issue, as is the wider bunfight to be part of the body.

A government release on Wednesday said "consultative meetings with the CSA members council [cricket's highest authority], SASCOC [the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee] and the South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) were held throughout the course of" Tuesday. "The meetings with SASCOC and SACA were intended to share the outcomes of the meeting with CSA for the purpose of keeping key role-players abreast of the latest developments. The meeting with the members council ... was constructive and the minister expressed his appreciation of their leadership."

That's more positive than Mthethwa's quote in an October 14 release - "I have now reached a point where I see no value in any further engagement with CSA" - which followed tetchy written exchanges between Mthethwa and Beresford Williams, CSA's former acting president, about where CSA's authority ended and government's began.

It was apparent on Monday, after the resignation of the last four of the 10 board members had been announced, that Mthethwa's tone towards CSA was softening. "The ultimatum I put for [Tuesday] was precisely for that [the board to resign]," he told reporters. "So if they have done that they are doing what they are supposed to do and it will take everything forward. We are where we are today precisely because of lack of leadership, of the centre not holding. If they have realised that, then it's progress."

The next step is the naming of the interim committee. Cricbuzz understands that skeletons from the closet of CSA's recent past are rattling their bones to try and clamber aboard, but also that they are being rejected. Instead, the net is being cast into the worlds of business, diplomacy, politics and sport for suitable candidates. In the best scenario, those worlds will collide to put cricket on the path to a better future.

But even those favoured few, and whoever succeeds them in a permanent capacity once this is all over, should know there is a higher power.

"We want people that are going to take the game to the next level," Mthethwa said on Monday. "We've said ... that we have no business running cricket or any sporting code. We want sport people, administrators and so on, to run sport. But if they engage in misgovernance, if they engage in areas where there is a total breakdown in terms of leadership, we will have no choice, even in future, to intervene."

The minister has spoken.