The South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA) today confirmed that its long-serving chief executive, Tony Irish, will step down from the position at the end of December 2019. Irish, who was instrumental in establishing SACA in 2002, has led the players association for the past 17 years.

Irish is also currently the Executive Chairman of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA), the global players’ body in cricket, and Non-Executive Vice-President of the World Players Association, the organisation which brings together players and athletes from multiple sports around the world. He was formerly the Non-Executive Chairman of My Players and the South African Rugby Players Association.

Irish will, with effect from January 2020, take up the position of chief executive of the Professional Cricketers Association (PCA), the players’ association representing the professional cricketers of England and Wales.

“We are saddened that Tony is leaving SACA, but we wish him well as he takes on this new challenge with the PCA” said SACA President, Omphile Ramela.

“In dedicating the past 17 years to SACA, Tony has been a courageous leader, always demonstrating ethical and principled leadership.  During this time, he has built SACA into one of the most respected players’ associations in the cricket world.”

“Tony has committed to leading SACA until the end of the year, and his continued leadership will be important during these challenging times in South African cricket.”

“Professional cricketers in South Africa owe Tony a debt of gratitude.  He has always acted in their best interests, and in the best interests of South African cricket. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Tony in his capacity as Executive Chairman of FICA” concluded Ramela.                                                                                                                                           

“I am proud to have led an organisation which represents the players in South Africa,” said Irish. “When SACA started in 2002 I never dreamed that it would become the organisation that it is today. This has largely been due to the unity and support shown by all of our professional cricketers over the years and the dedicated work done by the SACA operations team based at our offices in Cape Town and in various cities around the country”

“South African cricket faces some serious challenges ahead. I remain committed to leading SACA in dealing with those until the end of this year, and I’m confident that with the team we have in place at SACA will remain strong and committed to representing the players through these after my departure.”

“I have been offered the opportunity to lead the biggest players association, by player numbers, in the world of cricket. This is a very exciting challenge and I look forward to being able to learn more, and apply my years of experience, in the PCA environment.”

“I will continue as the Executive Chairman of FICA and in this role, I will remain connected to all of our member players associations around the world, including SACA.” 

 Over the next four months, and before Irish’s departure, SACA will make the necessary decisions around a chief executive succession plan.

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