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S. African High Court Upholds Cricket Captain's Lifetime Ban - 2001-10-17


A Pretoria High Court has upheld the lifetime ban of disgraced former South African team captain Hansie Cronje from cricket.

The United Cricket Board of South Africa banned Hansie Cronje for life last year, after he admitted taking money from bookmakers in exchange for under-performing in international matches.

Two other players, Herschelle Gibbs and Henry Williams, received six-month bans for lesser offenses.

The disgraced former skipper challenged his ban on constitutional grounds, saying he was never given a hearing.

The judge in the case, Frank Kirk-Cohen, said the UCB does have the right to prohibit Cronje from playing or coaching cricket for the South African national team or any of its affiliates.

The judge said Cronje is free to coach the sport in schools - but only at the few schools not affiliated with the UCB.

Under the ruling, Cronje may also cover cricket matches as a journalist, but he still has to apply to the UCB for accreditation. And he remains banned from press boxes and broadcasting facilities at UCB cricket grounds, as well as from interviewing players and officials at the grounds.

Reaction to the court ruling has been mixed. The UCB has welcomed the decision. So has cricket's world governing body, the International Cricket Council.

But current South African captain, Shaun Pollock called it a loss to cricket. He told the Reuters news agency he thinks his predecessor still has something to offer the sport. Other former teammates also say the talented player could use his experience to teach the next generation of cricketers.

Cronje himself did not attend the hearing and has offered no comment on the ruling. His lawyers left the courthouse without speaking to the media.