Bans stand for suspended players
Unanimous decision from Cricket Australia Board means bans for Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft will remain
20 November 2018, 04:30 PM AEST
Steve Smith and David Warner will not return to top-level cricket until the current home summer is completed after the Cricket Australia Board unanimously agreed not to alter penalties imposed over the ball-tampering incident.
CA's Board met yesterday to consider a submission lodged by the Australian Cricketers' Association on behalf of the banned pair and their teammate Cameron Bancroft, which called for the suspension to be immediately lifted and the three players be allowed to resume their careers.
The ACA cited findings in the recently released Ethics Centre review that drew links between CA's corporate culture and the ‘win without counting the cost' mindset of the Australia men's team as "new evidence" that was sufficient to see the penalties set aside.
However, after a telephone hook-up of CA Board members during which the union's submission was considered in detail and discussed at length, it was decided that the sanctions that were imposed by the board, and accepted by all three players, last March should stand.
Interim Chair Earl Eddings said in a statement that the ACA's submission - which the union has confirmed was lodged with the knowledge, but not at the behest of, the three players – placed unnecessary extra scrutiny on the banned trio.
He also announced that no further calls for the penalties to be altered will be considered by the Board.
"The Cricket Australia Board has carefully considered all elements of the ACA submission and has determined that it is not appropriate to make any changes to the sanctions handed down to the three players," Eddings said today.
"Despite the absence of any recommendation regarding the sanctions in the recently released Ethics Centre Review, the Board has deliberated on the ACA's submission at length. "We have reconsidered the sanctions as they apply to each of Steve, David and Cameron in light of the ACA's submission and the Ethics Centre Review and Recommendations.
"The original decision of the Board to sanction the players was determined after rigorous discussion and consideration.
"CA maintains that both the length and nature of the sanctions remain an appropriate response in light of the considerable impact on the reputation of Australian cricket, here and abroad.
"Steve, David and Cameron are working hard to demonstrate their commitment to cricket and have our continued support to ensure their pathway to return is as smooth as possible.
"We believe the ongoing conversation about reducing the sanctions puts undue pressure on the three players – all of whom accepted the sanctions earlier this year - and the Australian men's cricket team.
"As such, the Cricket Australia Board does not intend to consider further calls for amendments to the sanctions.
"Though we recognise that this decision will be disappointing for the ACA, we thank them for their submission.
"Our commitment to continue building a strong relationship between CA and the ACA in the interests of cricket in Australia remains and we look forward to meeting with them shortly to that end."
In calling for the bans - that were imposed under CA's Code of Conduct after the ICC had announced penalties for Smith and Bancroft - to be lifted, the ACA indicated it would be "relentless" in its campaign to have the three players immediately reinstated to all forms of cricket.
Among the 42 recommendations contained in the Ethics Centre Review (of which all but one was deemed by CA to be worthy of consideration or already in train) was that representatives from CA and the ACA meet within a month to help repair the two bodies' fractious relationship.
That meeting is expected to take place in coming weeks.
Bancroft's nine-month suspension will end in late December, meaning he could be selected for the Perth Scorchers' KFC Big Bash League match against the Hobart Hurricanes on December 30.
Smith and Warner's bans were for 12 months respectively, which means they will not be available for selection for Australia, New South Wales or their BBL outfits until March 28.
Which is the same day the JLT Sheffield Shield Final – this Australian summer's final scheduled match – begins.
The three players were charged, and found to be in breach of Article 2.3.5 of the CA Code of Conduct in that their conduct during the third Test against South Africa last March, when sandpaper was taken on to the field with the intent of altering condition of the ball:
• was contrary to the spirit of the game;
• was unbecoming of a representative or official;
• is or could be harmful to the interests of cricket;
• and/or did bring the game of cricket into disrepute
After the Board announced the 12-month bans for Smith and Warner (as well as restrictions on the pair's future eligibility for future team leadership roles) and nine months for Bancroft, the trio were afforded the opportunity to appeal the penalties and put their case to an independent commissioner.
However, they waived their right to engage in that process and agreed to accept the punishments as handed down by the Board.
In the wake of the independent review of CA's culture conducted by the Ethics Centre and released publicly last month, then CA Chairman David Peever has stood down from the Board along with former Australia captain Mark Taylor who was the longest-serving CA Director.
In addition, Executive General Managers of Team Performance (Pat Howard) and Broadcasting, Digital Media and Commercial (Ben Amarfio) have departed CA in recent weeks resulting in an executive restructure under newly installed Chief Executive, Kevin Roberts.
The ACA responded to CA’s decision by announcing they would no longer pursue moves to alter the penalties applied to Smith, Warner and Bancroft, and therefore the matter was effectively closed.
The union reiterated it had lodged their submission with the view that the sanctions were applied without taking into account the findings of the subsequent Ethics Centre reviews, which had found CA was partly responsible for the mindset within the national men’s team by dint of the corporate culture the administration oversaw.
“While the ACA respectfully disagrees with CA’s decision, it is accepted,” the ACA said in a statement.
“The ACA regards CA’s decision as disappointing.
“It remains the ACA’s view that a recalibration of these sanctions would have been a just outcome.
“The ACA has done all it could in support of our submission, and now considers the matter closed.”