Iain Roy, Cricket Australia’s head of integrity and the conductor of the rapid investigation into the Newlands ball-tampering scandal, has been summarily removed by the governing body even as reviews into its culture and conduct continue.
In December 2013, Roy had been promoted to head a unit specifically created to deal with integrity issues around the game that were raised by a report into CA’s codes, policies and practices in this area by the former AFL executive Adrian Anderson. Roy’s removal took place a matter of days after the release of an Al Jazeera documentary raising questions about the involvement of Australian players in corrupt activity.
However, the greater question surrounds yet another major change to the organisation amid two concurrent reviews into CA: a wider cultural review being undertaken by The Ethics Centre (which has a CA director, Michelle Tredenick, on its board), and a more focused review chaired by the former Test batsman Rick McCosker tackling the behaviour of the men’s national team. Its facilitator, Peter Collins, is a longtime paid consultant of CA.
Roy’s exit, which took place on Tuesday, was a surprise to many at CA, only a week after the former Board director Kevin Roberts was promoted to the post of chief operating officer beneath the chief executive James Sutherland. The position is one that Sutherland had previously baulked at creating, but which now strongly suggests that the chairman David Peever is intent upon installing the ambitious Roberts as Sutherland’s eventual replacement.
When the Newlands scandal took place, Sutherland’s first action was to send Roy and the team performance manager Pat Howard to Cape Town to conduct a code-of-conduct investigation into the events of the match. The result was Roy’s recommendation that the captain Steven Smith and his deputy David Warner be banned for 12 months for conduct contrary to the spirit of the game, and Cameron Bancroft for nine months. Smith and Bancroft were banned from taking any leadership positions in Australian cricket for 12 months, and Warner for life.
Within CA, there had been a level of satisfaction about the fact that the episode had progressed from Bancroft’s appearance on the Newlands replay screen to the players’ acceptance of heavy sanctions inside two weeks. However there was the administrative wrinkle of the Western Australian Cricket Association having to approve Bancroft for club cricket participation due to its rules being different to those of New South Wales, the state of Smith and Warner.
Even so, Roy’s sudden exit adds to a state of instability at CA, as priorities compete between the reviews, a goal to find an extra AUD 20 million in grassroots funding by cutting corners from the administration following last year’s failed attempt to remove a fixed-revenue percentage from the MoU with the Australian Cricketers’ Association, and the political machinations around the Board, Sutherland and senior management.
Since the reviews were instituted, a swathe of staff have been removed from the recast game development portfolio, the head of marketing has left, while the Board director Bob Every quit well before his term was due to expire after a series of disagreements with Peever. In the meantime, the coach Darren Lehmann was replaced by Justin Langer on a four-year contract. Roy’s removal has only added to the appearance of an uncertain picture for the organisation, and lent weight to queries over whether the reviews are of any genuine significance.
All this despite the signing of an AUD 1.18 billion broadcast rights deal with the Fox Sports and Seven networks in April, trumpeted by CA as a landmark deal in its balance between preserving a significant free-to-air presence for the game while also offering up the sort of blanket coverage of the game to be provided by Fox creating a dedicated cricket channel. How its many talking heads will address the sort of upheaval seen at CA in recent weeks remains to be seen.