JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 07, Jacques Faul (Acting CEO of CSA) and Nicolaas Kruger (CEO of MMI Holdings) during the CSA major sponsorship announcement from Sandton Southern Sun on June 07, 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa Photo by Lee Warren / Gallo Images

The new regime at Cricket SA (CSA) signed its first major sponsorship deal on Thursday with a financial services provider for One-Day International (ODI) and domestic cricket.

It had been a bumpy road for CSA in the last few years, with the withdrawal of sponsors' support and the suspension of its CEO Gerald Majola, said interim CEO Jacques Faul.

However, Momentum had shown confidence in the changes which had taken place, and had signed a six-year deal.

“The fact that they were willing to sign a deal on a long-term basis shows a massive vote of confidence in the new structures at CSA,” said Faul.

“It's a sign of confidence that we are making progress and six years is a long time, so it shows we are moving in the right direction,” he said.

The contract gave the company full sponsorship rights of ODI cricket, starting with the Proteas' tour to England in July, and ODI events at franchise and affiliate level.

CEO of Momentum's holding company MMI, Nicolaas Kruger, said talks had been held for nearly a year, but that bad publicity surrounding CSA had hampered the signing of the deal.

“The business case for us was clear from the outset, with the diverse fan base and the number of supporters in South Africa. You don't find opportunities of this nature coming along too often,” Kruger said.

As far as CSA governance issues were concerned, this had been a point of debate in the past few months, and the timing had not been right.

“But various process were started, including the Nicholson Inquiry and the sports minister's involvement. So we are now very comfortable with the significant progress that has been made on that front,” he said.

“A process has started with a variety of interventions that really gives us the assurances that we need to commit ourselves for this long period.

“It includes contractual assurances, but it also includes governance improvements, some of which have already been implemented,” said Kruger.

Funding would also reach grassroots and club level cricket. Money would go towards a transport fund for affiliates and associates, escalating over the six-year period. – Sapa