Sports

Mark Taylor defends covering up Paine sexting scandal




Former Cricket Australia director Mark Taylor has defended his board’s decision not to make Tim Paine’s sexting investigation public in 2018, claiming it was best for the game and all involved.

The fallout from Paine’s resignation continued on Sunday, with multiple former board members hitting back at current management’s claims they would have sacked the wicketkeeper as captain at the time.

Paine was cleared of any misconduct in a 2018 integrity unit investigation, after he sent lewd messages and a graphic image to a Cricket Tasmania colleague.

CA have come under intense criticism for not revealing the investigation at the time, before the incident blew up in Paine’s resignation on Friday.

Taylor was a member of the CA board for 13 years before resigning in late 2018, as one of the final casualties of the ball-tampering saga.

He agreed the call was right for Paine to stand down now the incident had become public, but defended the decision for that not to happen in 2018.

“A decision was taken by the integrity unit and supported by the board to keep this in house,” Taylor told the Nine Network.

“There’s obviously been a lot of conjecture about the rights and wrongs of that.

“That decision was made not just on what is best for cricket, but what was best for Tim Paine, Bonnie Paine and also the woman involved.”

Taylor also defended the culture of the sport’s governance, with that era again called into question following the Paine revelations.

His then-chairman David Peever joined him in doing so, before accusing the current board of “abandoning” Payne with a “knee-jerk reaction” in a statement to News Corp.

Taylor also took a subtle jab at new chairman Richard Freudenstein and his claims his board would have acted differently to the previous one.

(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

“Three-and-a-half or four years of hindsight is a wonderful thing,” Taylor said.

“I don’t know if he has any more information, that the integrity unit had of Cricket Australia in 2018.

“It’s interesting to note that even now, having said that … they didn’t stand Tim down.

“He stood down, he resigned himself.”

Meanwhile Paine’s weekend admission he knew the story would one day break leaves further questions about current CA management’s decision not to revisit the investigation.

Paine confirmed there had been “numerous times” where media agencies had made enquiries about the story, but it had not been published.

“I knew it was going to come out at some point, as much as I didn’t want it to,” Paine told News Corp in an interview alongside a supporting wife.

Freudenstein and chief executive Nick Hockley regularly pointed out in a press conference on Saturday that any decisions were made before their time.

The pair also confirmed they were made aware of the investigation when they joined the organisation in 2019 and 2020 respectively, but did not delve deeper into the case.

“I was given a very high-level briefing that there had been an incident,” Freudenstein said.

“A thorough investigation and no misconduct found. There was no reason to investigate that further at that stage

“Once you have a private matter that has been subject to a full integrity unit investigation, it wouldn’t be normal for that to be part of the handover.”

© AAP





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