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May 24, 2001

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Cronje files complaint over withdrawn invitation

Hansie Cronje's lawyer has filed a complaint against the South African cricket board (UCB) after an invitation for the ex-captain to speak at the benefit dinner of a former team mate was withdrawn.

Cronje, who received a life-ban from cricket from the UCB after admitting to taking money to fix matches, had been invited to speak at a dinner in honour of long-serving Free State and South Africa batsman Gerhardus Liebenberg.

Hansie Cronje Cronje's lawyer Leslie Sackstein filed an affidavit over four months ago challenging the UCB's ban and on Wednesday added a supplementary over the withdrawn lunch invitation.

Sackstein told reporters the UCB were to blame for the withdrawal.

"(This) clearly demonstrates the UCB's intention to interfere wherever possibly in his relationships," he said.

But UCB president Percy Sonn denied that he or his Board had prevented Cronje from attending the dinner or making a speech and insisted that the Free State union had made the decision themselves.

"They approached the acting president of the UCB (Robbie Kurz) and he had a view on whether this was appropriate activity," Sonn told Reuters on Thursday.

"I agreed with his decision but I never took a decision on whether it should be allowed and I never imposed my view on Free State. It was their decision.

"We banned the man from all cricket activities of the UCB and its affiliates.

"The matter is now sub judice but my contention is contained in an affidavit that is now before the court. The contention of Mr Cronje is also a matter of public record.

"If the courts decided that my decision (about the life ban) is wrong then I will accept that," Sonn said.

"I don't think it (the benefit dinner) is a huge issue -- it's one of those trivial things that Mr Sackstein seems to be hanging his case on."

Free State managing director Seppi Lusardi said: "Until I know what the details are and what the fuss is about I can't comment."

Mail Cricket Editor

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