9:12 AM ETLiam BrickhillFacebookTwitterFacebook MessengerPinterestEmailprint
The spat between Zimbabwe’s Sports and Recreation Commission and Zimbabwe Cricket appears to have reached a resolution. On Thursday the SRC announced that the dispute had been settled, with all parties agreeing to an “Order by Consent”, with the matter now pending before an administrative court. Zimbabwe Cricket’s directors will be reinstated once the registrar of that court issues an order to that effect, and the interim committee will be dissolved.
There’s a lot of legal jargon there. What does this all actually mean?
Basically, it means that the SRC blinked first.
They made it known in their presentation at the ICC Board meeting in July that they felt that they had grounds to suspend the ZC board, alleging electoral irregularities in the board election, as well as various other allegations. Their suspension of the board was within their powers under the act of Parliament that created the SRC, but the ICC’s perception was that it constituted unacceptable interference in cricket affairs, violating the laws to which ICC member nations have to adhere. In the meantime, the ZC board took the matter to court, appealing against the SRC’s original suspension.
Still, the SRC stood their ground for a while, but as the collateral damage started to mount, with both the men’s and women’s sides stripped of their chance to compete at the T20 World Cup Qualifiers and the threat of expulsion looming, a resolution to the conflict became the only option.
Sports Minister Kirsty Coventry engineered a series of meetings between the ZC board and the SRC last week. A settlement was found, and the court order – once it is issued – will make that settlement official.
So will Zimbabwe’s suspension be lifted?
This is certainly the first step in getting the suspension lifted, but it’s not quite as simple as that. The ICC issued a directive last month that the board be “unconditionally” reinstated as a prerequisite for the situation in Zimbabwe to be discussed at the next ICC board meeting in October. But while the SRC’s latest statement essentially brought the dispute to an end, it was somewhat light on detail. Will the board be reinstated in its entirety? What was agreed at the meetings between ZC and the SRC? These details could well be important when the ICC meet and discuss Zimbabwe’s suspension. The move does at least seem to suggest that the threat of Zimbabwe’s expulsion from the ICC and total loss of membership rights appears to be receding now. But their suspension may still stand until October.
So will Zimbabwe now play in the T20 World Cup Qualifiers?
Unfortunately not. The ICC has already announced their replacements – Namibia and Nigeria – as well as the fixture list for the women’s qualifier at the end of the month. So, unless the ICC backtrack and reverse their decision to replace the Zimbabwean teams, which is highly unlikely, the reinstatement of the board has come too late.
Where does this leave Zimbabwe’s cricketers?
For the moment, they’re still in the wilderness, but their future is a little less uncertain than it was at the start of the week. ZC still want to send a team to the tri-series in Bangladesh, and if the suspension is lifted after the October meeting, ICC funding will return and salaries can be paid.