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Former England Women’s captain alleges homophobic discrimination against Cricket South Africa

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Karen Smithies, a former England World Cup-winning captain, has alleged that Cricket South Africa rejected her application for the position of South Africa Women’s team manager because of her sexuality, according to a report in The Times.

A panel including CSA director of cricket and former Proteas captain Graeme Smith offered the role to Sedibu Mohlaba over Smithies. CSA has subsequently been served legal papers in relation to the case, according to the report.

The report states that one member of the four-strong panel, made up of Smith, Vincent Barnes, Edward Khoza, and Chantel Moon cited the possibility of Smithies “getting into some darling-darling relationship with one of the players” as a reason to look past her for the role. According to The Times, Smithies was interviewed via video call, with the remarks made after Smithies had left the call, and the panel unaware that their meeting was still being recorded.


The report states that Smithies’ race and nationality were also factors in the decision-making process. “It would not be right to employ a white Pom instead of a black African male,” one member of the panel reportedly said.

According to SACricketMag.com, Smith left the meeting at the same time as Smithies, and so was not present when the alleged remarks were made.

“My private life should be exactly that,” Smithies told The Times. “Women’s rights are a huge thing these days, especially in South Africa.”

Smithies is currently an administrator at Titans, a South African domestic cricket side. She played 84 Tests and ODIs for England. In 1993, she led England to World Cup glory at Lord’s and in 1994 she was awarded an OBE for her services to the game.

CSA have been approached for comment by Wisden.com.

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