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Report indicates serious flaws in ACB governance

Report indicates serious flaws in ACB governance

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On
Sep 05, 2020 - 15:41

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Integrity Watch in a new research released on Saturday said the Afghanistaninfo-icon Cricket Board (ACB) lacks transparency, accountability, governance and corruption prevention measures despite the national team’s incredible success.

The report on the ACB governance highlights that the board’s appointment procedures for its members are questionable. In addition, the ACB has failed to provide necessary physical infrastructure for womeninfo-icon to play the game in Afghanistan despite international aid.

The research conducted by Integrity Watch took several months and required intervention from the Access to Information Commission because the board was unwilling to provide essential information to the research team.

Sayed Ikram Afzali, Executive Director of Integrity Watch, stated, “The ACB is faced with multiple governance issues. First and foremost is the politicization of the appointments process of board members and the too frequent changes at executive level.”

The Afghan President who holds the prerogative on appointment of the board chairman has not been able to maintain transparency and accountability in regard to leadership changes on the board and has never provided the reasons for changes in the leadership, Afzali added.

President Ashraf Ghani changed the ACB leadership four times during the last six years. Nasimullah Danish, who served from December 2014 to December 2016 was replaced by Shukrullah Atif Mashal until September 2018, followed by Azizullah Fazli who worked for eight months.

The current chair who has been there since May 2019.

Mushtaq Rahim, author of the report, stated, “The research shows that none of the outgoing chairmen left the board on good terms and there have been accusations of corruption, nepotism and differences with players. Additionally, the government has not carried out any performance appraisals on board members or after any of these changes.”

Ezatullah Adib, Head of Research at Integrity Watch, stated, “Minimum measures such as a proper code of conduct at the ACB are not in place to prevent corruption.” He explained that the anti-corruption code was adopted from the International Cricket Council (ICC) in August 2019 which was immediately after the date of formal request made for this document for the purpose of this study.

The document has not been translated into local languages so that the players and officials can use it. Adib asked, “Why has the ACB not reported on the status of a case that includes allegations of corruption in the 2018 Afghanistan Premier League (APL) by the ICC?”

The report found out that the ACB’s information sharing practices were also short of required minimum standards. The ACB has not published its annual audit and in addition there is no evidence that is undergoes an independent annual audit. The ACB website lacks important information and documents and it does not meet the requirements of Article 15 of the Access to Information Law.

Rahim also asked if it was a coincidence that a good number of players are relatives of board members. He explained, “The study found that a good number of board officials’ relatives have been regularly picked for different teams while comparatively better performing players have been ignored.”

Furthermore, a number of senior players have not met the minimum selection requirements such as playing a certain amount of domestic cricket games or staying for a certain amount of time inside the country.

Two ACB officials faced suspensions imposed by the ACB Discipline Committee but contrary to the decision, the ACB assigned the officials to different roles without any clarification or explanation.

Rahim concluded, “These practices show that the governance structures are not adequate and the enforcement of decisions does not apply to those who are in place at the ACB.”

Afzali called on President Ghani to order that the ACB constitution be amended in order to set a tenure for board members as well as detailing procedures for their selection to the board.

In addition, the ACB requires a thorough organization and policy assessment based on which current policies may need to be revised, new policies introduced, loopholes in staff and management highlighted and the organization overhauled. Mr. Afzali concluded, “This research shows that Afghan cricket team has recorded incredible success in the last two decades but it also shows that until the governance of the ACB is fixed to meet proper best practice governance standards, it won’t be able to provide the vital support and management for the game to achieve its full potential.”

pr/ma

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