Cricket council meeting to hear push for ethics commissioner

Cricket's powerbrokers are set to seek greater clarity around a push for an ethics commissioner when they meet in Sydney next week.

The Australian Cricket Council, established after the Longstaff review into the ethics and culture of Australian cricket, will gather on Monday where an ethics commissioner, next summer's fixture and a review of the Big Bash League are expected to discussed, either formally or informally.

They are three of the more pressing issues facing the sport in what has been a convoluted home summer which still has three one-day internationals to come, against New Zealand, beginning in Sydney on Friday.

The ACC is chaired by Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings and features the cricketing chairs of states and territories and Australian Cricketers Association president, Greg Dyer.

Emily Smith’s case may have been the sort of issue a cricket ethics commissioner looked at.Credit:Getty Images

CA has made progress in enacting many of Longstaff's recommendations but the No.1 recommendation – that being the introduction of an ethics commissioner – still appears some way off.

There remains uncertainty over what the role will involve. The ACA, led by Dyer, who has a clear view of how the role should be positioned, has pushed for an ethics commissioner since the Longstaff report was tabled in November, 2018.

The ACA says an ethics commissioner will not conduct investigations, rather it's where all parties can go should they not be unhappy with a CA decision – outside of launching an official appeal.

The ACA said an example of that would have been the Emily Smith case this summer when Smith, the Hobart Hurricanes WBBL wicketkeeper, was banned for nine months, six of which were suspended, for disclosing her team's batting line-up in Burnie on social media on a day when play was abandoned because of rain.

Smith did not appeal against the ban handed out by CA's anti-corruption unit but could have taken her case to an ethics commissioner, had there been one in place, and argued that her posting was the result of a team joke and not for personal gain.

However, whether an ethics commission would have the power to over-turn a CA penalty – or just make a recommendation – is another debatable point.

Some see the role of a commissioner as involving an annual audit of the performance of the CA administration and a regular assessment of the culture of the sport, including an ongoing review of the implementation of the Longstaff report's recommendations.

Some states have questioned the financial cost of a commissioner and even whether it's really needed.

State chiefs are also eager to find out where they stand in terms of next summer's international schedule. Officials hope a CA board meeting later this month will finalise plans for next summer, with Queensland, South Australia and the WACA fighting for the two remaining Tests on offer against India next summer. Melbourne and Sydney will have two of the four matches.

The losing state appears likely to host a one-off Test against Afghanistan, although Tasmania is also keen.

The health of the Big Bash League is also expected to be discussed, with an ongoing review ahead of the tournament's 10th season. The number of matches, length of the tournament and how it is marketed, with broadcast audiences, outside of the final, down 10 per cent year on year, are major points of debate.

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