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‘What a load of crap’: The Ox goes in to bat for volunteers


Cricket Australia is reportedly calling for clubs to send long-serving volunteers packing, warning some dedicated club members believe they are “irreplaceable” and have “reached their best-before date”.

The Daily Telegraph is reporting an internal document called the ‘Volunteer Management Framework’ says some volunteers hang on too long and create a barrier to succession planning.

Speaking on Drive, David ‘Ox’ Schwarz says clubs can’t survive without the help of a network of volunteers.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of sport,” Ox said.

“Without volunteers, junior sport doesn’t exist. Without volunteers, mid-level sport doesn’t exist. Senior sport doesn’t exist without volunteers.

“Not only are volunteers crucial for the development of the sport itself and the people within the organisation, this is often a home, this is often a place where people learn and pick up the wonderful traits we try and aspire to receive at a sporting club which is confidence, teamwork, cooperation, consideration, empathy – all the great things that sport can produce.

“For cricket Australia to come out and say ‘oh these people are too old’ – what a load of crap.”

Ox argues that volunteers who have served for a long time, decades in some cases, have done so because their skills are matched only by their dedication. The cream rises to the stop and stays there, unless Cricket Australia skims the pale.

“They have stuffed this right up, and if they lose a heap of volunteers on the back of this, ha ha to you Cricket Australia because you’ve only got yourself to blame and clubs will be suffering because of it.”

Click PLAY to hear more from Ox and Matt Granland:

In an interview with 3AW’s Neil Mitchell, Cricket Australia Acting Executive Manager Community Cricket Keiren McMillan concedes the offending passage in the ‘Volunteer Management Framework’ could have been worded better and has since been removed.

“Those sentences you read out are a really poor choice of wording, they don’t represent our views on volunteering and we will amend that, we are amending that to place that resource back onto the community cricket website and allow our volunteers to be using it in a more appropriate way.” Mr McMillan said.

“[Cricket] is one of those few games with multi-generations, a grandad can play with their granddaughter and we’re a richer sport for young people who bring new ideas, we’re a stronger sport for older generations and all the experience and experience they bring,

Mr McMillan said the intention of the document was to assist clubs with succession planning and to help them become sustainable and equipped for the future.

“The choice of wording was poor and doesn’t reflect our views, but what we do understand is that we do need to bring on new blood into clubs, we do need to share the load better, we do need to pass the baton on at some stage to the next generation,” he said.

Click PLAY to hear Cricket Australia’s Kieran McMillan with Neil Mitchell: