Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
A DARK cloud hung over Zimbabwe Cricket yesterday after the International Cricket Council suspended the country from its membership and outlawed it from all activities held under their banner.
The ICC, who concluded their annual conference in England yesterday, voted unanimously for the suspension of Zimbabwe Cricket, also froze funding for the domestic game.
All international matches, involving the country’s national teams, have been put on hold.
The global cricket governing body said the suspended ZC board, led by Tavengwa Mukuhlani, should be reinstated, within the next three months, or the pending a review of their decision at another meeting in October.
The country’s women’s national cricket team, the Lady Chevrons, now face the possibility of failing to play in the final round of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup qualifiers next month in Scotland.
The Lady Chevrons won the qualifier at home in May this year after beating Namibia by 50 runs in the final.
The Chevrons’ participation in October’s Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier is also now hanging in the balance.
Sports Commission board chairman, Gerald Mlotshwa, said they were yet to receive the official communication from the ICC.
“On the 18th July, 2019, the interim chairman of Zimbabwe Cricket, David Ellman-Brown and Retired Supreme Court Justice Ahmed Ebrahim appeared before the full board of the International Cricket Counci,’’ Mlotshwa said in a statement.
‘‘Also present was Tavengwa Mukuhlani, a member of the suspended Board of Directors of Zimbabwe Cricket. After hearing oral submissions from both parties, including written submissions from the Sports and Recreation Commission, the ICC determined to ban Zimbabwe from all forms of ICC-sanctioned cricket and suspended any funding of the game in Zimbabwe.
‘‘The ICC chairman is quoted saying ‘We do not take the decision to suspend a Member lightly, but we must keep our sport free from political interference. What has happened in Zimbabwe is a serious breach of the ICC Constitution and we cannot allow it to continue unchecked. The ICC wants Cricket to continue in Zimbabwe in accordance with the ICC Constitution.’
‘‘The SRC and the Interim Committee is yet to be formally advised in writing of the ICC’s detailed reasons for its decision. Once it is in receipt of the same, the SRC will activate the various emergency measures it had considered in the event of such a decision.’’
ICC boss Manohar, who visited this country in August 2017 on a five-day visit, said the events in domestic cricket in recent months were unacceptable.
“What has happened in Zimbabwe is a serious breach of the ICC Constitution and we cannot allow it to continue unchecked.
‘‘The ICC wants cricket to continue in Zimbabwe in accordance with the ICC Constitution.”
Mukuhlani and his board members were suspended by the Sports Commission for disregarding a directive to shelve their elective annual meeting in Victoria Falls on June 14 over electoral irregularities and accusations of alleged financial misappropriation.
However, after hearing submissions from Mukuhlani, whose sat in the seat reserved for the ZC chairman at the ICC meeting yesterday, and members of the interim committee, comprising acting chairman David Ellman-Brown and Retired Supreme Court Justice Ahmed Ebrahim, the ICC Board were unanimous in their decision to suspend Zimbabwe.
The global cricket governing body also cut off funding for Zimbabwe Cricket and ruled that the national cricket teams will not be allowed to participate in the ICC sanctioned events.
The ICC yesterday said Zimbabwe were in breach of Article 2.4 (c) and (d) of the ICC Constitution and ordered the local authorities to reinstate the board that was suspended by the Sports Commission within the next three months pending review at the next board meeting set for October.
According to a statement from the global cricket body, “Zimbabwe Cricket has been suspended with immediate effect.
“The ICC Board unanimously decided that Zimbabwe Cricket, an ICC Full Member, is in breach of Article 2.4 (c) and (d) of the ICC Constitution which imposes an obligation on Members to provide a process for free and democratic elections and to ensure that there is no government interference in its governance and / or administration for cricket respectively.
“As a consequence of suspension, ICC funding to Zimbabwe Cricket will be frozen and representative teams from Zimbabwe will not be allowed to participate in any ICC events.
“The ICC has directed that the elected Zimbabwe Cricket Board be reinstated to office within three months, and progress in this respect will be considered again at the October Board meeting.
“The ICC Board heard from both the Sports and Recreation Committee representatives of the Zimbabwe Government and Zimbabwe Cricket before making their decision.”
ICC chairman Shashank Manohar said the cricket governing body was committed to support Zimbabwe to continue playing cricket.
The ICC also announced that the Croatia Cricket Federation and the Zambia Cricket Union have both also been suspended for continuing non-compliance with ICC Membership criteria.
The Moroccan Royal Cricket Federation have continued to remain non-compliant with ICC Membership Criteria 2.2(b)(ii), 2.2(b)(iii), 2.2(b)(iv) and 2.2(e)(i) and as such has been expelled from Membership of the ICC.