Advertisement

Cricket South Africa denies antisemitism accusations after stripping David Teeger of captaincy

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has denied accusations of antisemitism made by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) after David Teeger was removed as captain of the SA Under-19 team.

Teeger, who is Jewish, was stood down as captain because of fears over “protests related to the war in Gaza” during the Under-19 men’s Cricket World Cup, which gets underway in South Africa on Friday.

The 19-year-old Teeger has made comments in the past in support of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

The SAJBD met with CSA earlier this week and later released a statement saying that the only explanation for Teeger losing the captaincy was “plain antisemitism” – a claim that CSA denies.

“Cricket South Africa finds the accusations of antisemitism levelled against it by the SA Jewish Board of Deputies as without any basis and rejects them with the contempt they deserve,” the governing body told CNN on Thursday.

The SAJBD also called for the International Cricket Council (ICC) to intervene, but the global governing body said that it will not investigate the matter, telling CNN: “Team selection including captaincy is an issue for Members and not the ICC. An international federation is not constituted to intervene in team selections.”

When announcing its decision to remove Teeger as captain of the Under-19 team, CSA said it has received “regular security and risk updates regarding the World Cup” and has been “advised that protests related to the war in Gaza can be anticipated at the venues for the tournament.”

The statement added: “We have also been advised that [protests] are likely to focus on the position of the SA Under-19 (SA U19) captain, David Teeger, and that there is a risk that they could result in conflict or even violence, including between rival groups of protestors.”

Citing a “primary duty to safeguard the interests and safety of all those involved,” CSA said that it “has decided that David should be relieved of the captaincy for the tournament. This is in the best interests of all the players, the SA U19 team and David himself.”

CSA went on to say that Teeger “will remain an important and active member of the squad and we wish him and the team every success in the tournament.”

CNN has attempted to obtain comment from Teeger but has not received a response. When asked for a comment through the South African team, a CSA spokesperson told CNN that “David is currently unavailable for media interviews at this stage.”

Shortly after the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October, when Teeger had received the Rising Star award at the ABSA Jewish Achievers Awards, he dedicated the accolade to the IDF soldiers during his acceptance speech.

“Yes, I’ve been awarded this award, and yes, I am now the ‘rising star,’ but the true rising stars are the young soldiers in Israel,” he said at the time, adding: “I’d like to dedicate it to the state of Israel and to every single soldier fighting so that we can live and thrive in the diaspora.”

In November, CSA appointed an independent panel to determine whether Teeger’s comments had breached any codes of conduct after receiving a complaint from the Palestine Solidarity Alliance, eventually ruling that they did not.

The timing of CSA’s decision to remove Teeger’s captaincy occurs as the South African government accused Israel of genocide in an unprecedented case at the United Nations’ top court.

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com