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Marcus Prior
"The UCB are absolutely determined that they come out on top on this."
 real 14k

Thursday, 27 September, 2001, 18:20 GMT 19:20 UK
Who will give Cronje a job?
Hansie Cronje was not present in court
Cronje could soon be working for TV
Media bosses have reacted to the news that Hansie Cronje could take up employment as a cricket journalist. Marcus Prior has been listening to Cronje's appeal in Pretoria for BBC Sport Online.

Hansie Cronje's life ban by the United Cricket Board (UCB) prevents him from playing and coaching cricket, but the UCB went to great lengths in the Pretoria High Court on Thursday to explain that there were many avenues left open to him.

Thursday turned out to be the last day of the evidence in Cronje's appeal, with presiding Judge FC Kirk-Cohen announcing his decision in due course.

Cronje seeks to rehabilitate himself within the cricket world and he is thought to be planning media work. Access to the UCB's press box facilities, however, is an entirely different matter.

"Cronje is free to practice as a journalist by attending a match as a spectator and reporting for the print medium," UCB senior counsel Wim Trengove told the court.

"He could also be a studio-based commentator. He can even apply for accreditation, but there is no guarantee that it will be granted."

I would not object to using him. He would certainly sell newspapers
Lester Mills
sports editor of the Pretoria News

This should come as no surprise to Cronje, as his ban never extended to controlling who he could or could not work for, although he did complain that the UCB had tried to pressurize some prospective employers not to sign him up

Perhaps the most obvious place for Cronje to start a career in broadcasting or journalism is at South Africa's satellite television company, Supersport.

Before the proceedings began it was even reported that the company had offered Cronje a lucrative contract to commentate on and present domestic and international matches.

Supersport would make a logical starting point, not least because they carry an Afrikaans commentary channel, a place where Cronje is far more likely to be well received than on the more widely watched English channel.

Supersport are also a major force in South African cricket and in most high profile sports in the country.

Cronje's associations with the game are unlikely to be severed
Cronje's associations with the game are unlikely to be severed

Their sheer standing might make them less concerned about the possible effect on any decline in relations with the sport's governing body.

As the UCB admitted in court, they have no jurisdiction in the matter.

The most they could do is say send a "we are not amused" message to any sponsor or broadcaster wishing to employ Cronje.

Unsurprisingly, there are also those within the print media who understand the commercial value of having someone like Cronje as a columnist.

Lester Mills, sports editor of the Pretoria News, said: "I would not object to using him. He would certainly sell newspapers and we're in the business of doing that.

I would be reluctant to provide a platform to someone who has done what he's done
Clinton van den Berg
sports editor of the Sunday Times

"In my opinion, Hansie has been tried and convicted and banned for life so in a sense he's paid his debt. Do you then still treat him as a criminal?

"Look at footballers like Tony Adams, George Best and Paul Gascoigne - they all made mistakes and Adams even went to prison - nobody's hammering them now.

"They have not been ostracized completely. Why should Hansie be any different?" Mills asked.

The sports editor of the Sunday Times, the country's most widely read newspaper, Clinton van den Berg, was a little less keen to provide Cronje with column inches.

"An intelligent guy"

"It's a question of balance," van den Berg said. "Our readers would be fascinated to read the thoughts of someone like Hansie - he's an intelligent guy.

"But as editor I would be reluctant to provide a platform to someone who has done what he's done," van den Berg said.

Leading cricket website, who frequently use leading names within the games to write articles, said Cronje's opinions would not be welcome.

"We would not use Cronje," Peter Robinson, editor of Cricinfo South Africa said.

"We are an international organisation and although there may be support for Cronje within the country, there is also still an awful lot of antipathy towards him in much of the rest of the cricketing world.

"It would be inappropriate for us to use him."

See also:

27 Sep 01 |  Cricket
Bad day for the UCB
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