The International Cricket Council avoids involvement in dispute over comments made by South African cricketer in support of Israel.
The International Cricket Council has stated that it will not intervene in Cricket South Africa’s decision to remove David Teeger as captain of their under-19 team. This action has been condemned by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies as a “shameful” act driven by antisemitism.
The CSA held a meeting with the Board of Deputies, a group representing the South African Jewish community, on Tuesday morning in an effort to resolve the dispute surrounding Teeger’s demotion. The demotion was announced last week and is believed to have been caused by security concerns leading up to the Under-19 World Cup, which begins on Friday.
The actions of Teeger, a Jewish individual, have been questioned after he received an award at a Jewish community gathering on October 22 and dedicated it to the state of Israel and its soldiers. In response to an official complaint filed by the Palestine Solidarity Alliance, the CSA conducted an external investigation to determine if Teeger had violated any ethical guidelines. The investigation found that Teeger’s right to freedom of expression should be respected and that he did not commit any wrongdoing.
Teeger was requested to voluntarily relinquish his captaincy before eventually being ousted from the position on Friday. CSA stated that he was at risk of facing protests and that they must heed the advice of safety experts responsible for the well-being of participants and viewers. However, some South African newspapers have claimed that the decision was driven by political influence rather than legitimate safety concerns. On Monday, the ANC, the ruling party of South Africa, released a statement applauding Juan James on his new role as captain and labeling Teeger as a “supporter of Israeli genocide”.
Following the meeting with CSA, Zev Krengel, the national vice-president of SAJBD, stated that the security concerns were unfounded and used as a justification to remove him from his captaincy. According to Krengel, the meeting initially presented the information as a report from the State Security Agency, but when questioned about its author, they changed their stance and referred to it as a briefing. When asked about the source of the briefing, they refused to disclose it. Furthermore, it was revealed that there is no actual security report. This leaves only two possible explanations: either there is antisemitism at CSA or there is significant political interference from the ANC.
I attempted to convey at the meeting that we should acknowledge this as a somber day for Cricket South Africa. It is disheartening that their only solution for organizing the tournament was to remove a Jewish individual from his role as captain. However, none of my colleagues were in agreement with me. I strongly believe that this is a regrettable situation for CSA and for South Africa as a whole. If the ICC does not take action, it will reflect poorly on their reputation.
The ICC stated that they will not get involved in the situation. A spokesperson clarified that team selection and captaincy decisions are the responsibility of members, not the ICC. They also emphasized that the role of an international federation is not to interfere with team selections.