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Wednesday, 16 October, 2002, 15:41 GMT 16:41 UK
Quotas ruling 'to stay'
Ntini has been in the national squad for four years
Makhaya Ntini: South Africa's leading black player
South African cricket's decision to scrap a racial quota system is expected to stay in place following a government-backed inquiry.

The surprise decision to abandon quotas at international and first-class level was taken by the United Cricket Board at a meeting of 150 officials in July.

But Sports Minister Ngconde Balfour subsequently decided to appoint a five-man panel to review the current situation affecting non-white players.

The inquiry team, headed by John Smith, has submitted a report to the Minister following talks with all 11 provincial unions affiliated to the UCB.

He has promised to make its contents public within a week, but is unlikely to overturn the UCB decision whatever its conclusions.

"There is a difference between force and persuasion and I am not a forceful minister," Balfour was quoted as saying.

"I never said I rejected what the UCB said - I simply said I would like to validate it."

Sports Minister Ngconde Balfour
Balfour ordered the inquiry

It is 31 years since South Africa were exiled from international cricket because of the apartheid policy then in place.

They were eventually re-admitted in 1991 after the two bodies running black and white cricket agreed to merge and implement a development programme to ensure that "cricket would represent all South Africans".

The quota system was introduced as part of that process, but came in for criticism from several senior cricket figures, particularly during last winter's series against Australia.

Since then, there have been a number of significant changes including the appointment of Omar Henry, the first non-white player to appear in a Test for South Africa, as chairman of selectors.

See also:

11 Jul 02 | Cricket
09 Jul 02 | Cricket
08 Jul 02 | Cricket
27 Dec 01 | Australia v South Africa
07 Dec 00 | Cricket
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