Cricket South Africa looking for new sponsorship contract

Standard Bank and cellphone giant MTN withdrew their sponsorship from CSA after the IPL 2 bonus scandal AFP

Johannesburg: Jun 5, 2012

In a boost to its sagging fortunes after the Indian Premier League 2 bonuses debacle, Cricket South Africa is on the verge of signing a huge deal with a leading insurance company.

Acting chief executive of CSA, Jacques Faul confirmed that a six-year sponsorship deal with a financial institution was imminent, but declined to name the sponsor.

Reacting to speculation that the sponsor was insurer Momentum, its spokesman Dan Moyane said that there were discussions with CSA but that nothing had been finalised yet.

Long-time sponsors Standard Bank and cellphone giant MTN withdrew their sponsorship from CSA after the IPL 2 bonus scandal involving now suspended chief executive Gerald Majola first reared its head in 2009.

CSA President Mtutuzeli Nyoka was ousted twice after he challenged the irregular payment of bonuses for the IPL 2 that was played in South Africa due to security concerns around elections in India.

Majola is currently facing a disciplinary hearing as well as possible criminal charges on the bonus payments after Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula insisted on firm action by CSA in the wake of the Nicholson Inquiry into the financial affairs of CSA that the minister had instituted.

The Nicholson report recommended strong action against Majola, who allegedly made irregular paymant of IPL 2 bonuses to himself and other CSA staff, as well as restructuring of the Board.

Faul had earlier said that the restructuring plans were well under way and would be finalised by the time the CSA annual general meeting is held in September.

As CSA battles to find the sponsors because of the bonus scandal, analysts said the Board would continue to find it difficult to sell its properties at market related values.

Last season, insurer MyWay signed a sponsorship for the domestic Twenty20 series for just 20 per cent of its market value, according to sponsorship and marketing expert Michael Goldman of the Gordon Institute of Business Science.

Sponsors have been reluctant to associate themselves with a body that has been shown publicly to have had poor corporate governance, something that has become a priority for Faul and his team to correct.

Sponsors are also expected to gain more confidence if the Champions League Twenty20 takes place in South Africa later this year.

Faul earlier told the Sunday Times that there was a strong possibility of this happening .

“There’s a monsoon in Chennai in September; there’s a religious festival in Kolkata and Mumbai isn’t prepared to host the Pakistani team that qualifies. So there’s a shortage of venues in India,” Faul said.

South Africa had previously hosted the Champions League Twenty20 in 2010. (PTI)