CSA report profit amid problems

Sunday Times

TELFORD VICE, Cape Town

CRICKET SA (CSA) reported a profit on Saturday when a loss had been projected, kindling hopes that the game’s new reality in this country, while smaller, will be more perfectly formed.

There are also signs that the board’s mediocre position in the world game’s pecking order of suits will improve along with the ongoing restoration of their relationship with the uber-suits, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

But beyond the corporate smoke and mirrors, things look less rosy. Two franchises are without title sponsors less than four weeks before the start of the domestic season proper while another is searching for cheaper ways to keep the floodlights on.

At a press briefing ahead of CSA’s annual meeting in Johannesburg on Saturday, at which Rihan Richards and Zola Thamae were elected as non-independent directors, and Norman Arendse and Vusi Pikoli were appointed for a second and last three-year term as independent directors, a profit of R108-million was announced for a financial year in which a loss had loomed.

However, as one senior suit said, “It’s not that CSA have done better or worse; it’s that the falling value of the Rand has led to a 30% to 40% swing in their finances.” Another concurred that that was the “general view” of the main reason for CSA’s windfall.

CSA seem to have more genuine reasons to be cheerful. “There is progress being made,” an administrator said about their relationship with the BCCI, which was all but destroyed by CSA’s appointment in 2013 of Haroon Lorgat as their chief executive.

Better yet, CSA’s demotion to fifth in the queue for revenue from the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) 2015 to 2023 media rights cycle was “being looked at”.

And all because Narayanaswami Srinivasan has been deposed as BCCI president by the Indian Supreme Court in the throes of an investigation into alleged corruption in the Indian Premier League.

During his tenure as ICC chief executive Lorgat was a thorn in the bullying Srinivasan’s side. With Srinivasan, it seems, has gone the BCCI’s objections to Lorgat.

Lorgat, an accountant by profession, has cut CSA’s coat according to its less luxurious cloth by what he has termed the “re-engineering” of the game in SA.

“We fund franchises on an activity-based basis,” he said on Saturday. “We plan the activities, fund the activities and then score the activities so we can provide incentives.”

It seems domestic structures are still fitting into that new coat. That the Warriors are without a title sponsor could be ascribed to the economic depression of the Eastern Cape. But that won’t wash with the Cobras, who are in the same boat despite being one of SA’s most successful franchises.

At the Wanderers, meanwhile, administrators cough up R150 000 each month of the year just to keep available the power required to run the stadium. And only five of the 26 fixtures there next season are scheduled as day/night games.

Those are big issues in cricket’s smaller world. How much smaller? Saturday’s CSA briefing was attended by one journalist.

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