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The findings of Cricket Australia’s long-awaited cultural review has been made public, and it makes for uncomfortable reading for the game’s administrators, finding CA are commonly perceived as “arrogant” and “controlling”.
Commissioned following the infamous ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town earlier this year and conducted by the Ethics Committee, the review into Cricket Australia was released this afternoon, and its 42 recommendations for the organisation made public.
While the review did not find CA established a ‘win at all costs’ culture – instead concluding there was a “program that would lead to ‘winning without counting the costs’” – it does not paint a pretty picture for administrators.
“With the exception of CA’s own Board and senior executives, the broad consensus amongst stakeholders is that CA does not consistently ‘live’ its values and principles,” the report states.
“CA is perceived to say one thing and do another. The most common description of CA is as ‘arrogant’ and ‘controlling’. The core complaint is that the organisation does not respect anyone other than its own. Players feel that they are treated as commodities. There is a feeling amongst some State and Territory Associations that they are patronised while sponsors believe their value is defined solely in transactional terms.”
That notion of an organisation that says one thing while doing another is unlikely to have been helped by CA chairman David Peever, who said today that he takes “full responsibility” for the events which transpired in South Africa – despite standing for re-election just last week.
There are a number of key recommendations amongst the 42 contained in the review, including the establishment of a three-person ethics commission and the Australian Cricket Council, a “consultative body that will bring together cricket’s major stakeholders, twice per year, to consider issues of strategic significance to the game.”
While the majority of the recommendations are being either supported or considered by CA – and a number have already been implemented – there is one which has been rejected by the organisation.
Under Recommendation #17, the review advocates for Test and ODI players to be released to play Sheffield Shield or grade cricket – something CA has knocked back on the grounds it “assumes that International T20 competition is of lesser importance.”
In what amounts to essentially a ‘no dickheads’ policy, the report has also recommended that selectors take into account a player’s character in addition to their skill.
Other notable recommendations include:
5. Honours like the Allan Border Medal become best and fairest-type awards, and that spirit of cricket awards be elevated
7. CA and the Australian Cricketers’ Association establish a constructive working relationship
8. Grade, state and national teams to be assessed on the spirit of cricket by umpires
9. Umpires to be given greater powers to deal with:
• Continuous abusive sledging
• Deliberate breaches of the Laws of Cricket
• Deliberate conduct inconsistent with the spirit of cricket
11.Ensure cricket pitches are prepared in a manner that:
• Allows batting and bowling sides a fair opportunity to compete effectively
• Maintains regional variety and diversity of playing surfaces
12. The current performance bonus be converted into a payment which recognises:
• Contributions to the maintenance and development of grassroots cricket
• Positive relationships with fans, sponsors, etc
14. The role of vice-captain be de-coupled from that of ‘heir apparent’ for the captaincy, and that other captaincy contenders be given opportunities to demonstrate leadership in other roles
15. Players with leadership aspirations be given formal leadership training
23. The CA Board be subject to the organisation’s code of conduct
37. Staff members of the High Performance Unit be banned from taking part in industrial negotiations with players
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the review found that while the status of the Australian men’s cricket team has been tarnished, the women’s national side has been untainted by the events of Cape Town.
“Australian cricket has lost its balance… and has stumbled badly,” the report reads.
“The reputation of the game of cricket, as played by men, has been tainted. Women’s cricket remains unaffected…
“The leadership of CA should also accept responsibility for its inadvertent (but foreseeable) failure to create and support a culture in which the will-to-win was balanced by an equal commitment to moral courage and ethical restraint.”
In addition to the organisational review, a separate player review has led to the creation of a Players’ Pact, a charter which is “the overarching statement as to how cricketers in Australia should play the game, respecting its traditions.”
The Players’ Pact reads as follows:
We recognise how lucky we are to play this great game.
We respect the game and its traditions.
We want to make all Australians proud.
Compete with us.
Smile with us.
Fight on with us.
Dream with us.
You can download a full copy of the organisational report into Cricket Australia here.