CRICKET NSW has ordered the suspension of the Newcastle City and Suburban Cricket Association board following an investigation that has revealed critical management failures within the organisation.
Two interim administrators, including a professional financial controller, have been appointed to take control of the competition for the 100th anniversary of its first season this year.
The move followed an 18-month Newcastle Herald investigation that revealed a bitter internal feud that threatened to destroy the NCSCA amid a host of controversial suspensions and allegations of bullying, financial mismanagement and lack of transparency.
Cricket NSW's Board made the decision to dismiss the NCSCA board this week following a wide-ranging investigation, by retired police assistant commissioner Peter Parsons and a financial auditor, that uncovered major problems with how the Hunter's largest social cricket competition has been run, amid a backdrop of plummeting player numbers.
The investigations found the NCSCA's volunteer board had failed to manage the association in accordance with minimum required standards of competence.
It also found that the current NCSCA board was not capable of administering the association to the necessary standard.
According to the investigations, on several occasions, the board failed to observe the requirements of its own constitution, including the implementation and administration of basic financial controls and practices.
Further findings included that significant personal differences between board members had disrupted the smooth running of the competition and contributed to a decline in the number of participating teams.
Cricket NSW chief executive Lee Germon said no allegation of dishonesty was made against any individual.
He said the decision to dismiss the board was made after months of investigation and serious consideration.
"We have made this decision reluctantly but having received the interim report from Peter Parsons, the initial findings from the subsequent review of the NCSCA's finances and the delay in receiving the requested information, we concluded that it was necessary to take firm action to preserve and reinvigorate the NCSCA competition," Germon said.
"The NCSCA will celebrate 100 years of cricket this summer and have been an extremely important part of the history of the game in Newcastle, but the decline in playing numbers over the last four years could not be overlooked.
"We want to assure the clubs, teams and players that our goal is to provide them with the ongoing opportunity to continue to play in the competition they enjoy, and to help it thrive."
Cricket NSW club officer Sharyn Beck will assume responsibility for managing the competition for the upcoming season.
Ms Beck's family have played in the NCSCA competition for the past six years and Cricket NSW said she had extensive knowledge of systems and compliance.
Bottrell Accounting Group's Matthew Anderson will take responsibility for independently administering the finances of the NCSCA.
Cricket NSW has instructed Mr Anderson to ensure that appropriate financial systems and controls are put in place.
Mr Germon said he contacted NCSCA president Phil Northey on Thursday to inform him of the decision and thank him for his service to cricket.
Mr Northey said he was preparing a response.
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