The International Cricket Council will consider whether to grant official first-class status to the rebel tours of South Africa made during the country’s apartheid era at a meeting next month, an ICC official said on Friday.
Teams from England, Australia, West Indies and Sri Lanka toured South Africa in the 1980s when the country was isolated by the ICC for its apartheid policy, the institutionalised racism that made blacks second-class citizens in their own country.
South Africa returned to the international fold in 1991 after ending the racial divide, twenty years after its membership was suspended, but the ICC ruled in 1993 that the rebel tours should not be regarded as first-class matches.
“There is an issue within the statistical community as to whether these matches are official, whether they are first-class or whether they are not," an ICC spokesman said.
"It is a housekeeping issue to add clarity to the situation where perhaps there is a little bit of a grey area,” he added.
The official said a decision is also to be taken on all matches played in South Africa from 1961-62, when the country ceased to be a member of the Commonwealth, until its return to the ICC fold. “There are views in some statistical circles with regard the matches that were played in the 30 years thereafter as unofficial," he said.
The issue is to be discussed at the ICC chief executives' meeting in Johannesburg on September 10 and 11.