Cricket SA acting chief executive Thabang Moroe. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Cricket South Africa may establish a formal inquiry into the conduct of its former CEO Haroon Lorgat regarding the establishment of the T20 Global League after the organisation’s Board of Directors cited a lack of detailed information for its decision to postpone the competition for one year.

The federation’s interim CEO Thabang Moroe said on Tuesday the Board had not been kept “fully appraised” about preparations for the competition that was due to start on November 3.

Lorgat was very much at the forefront of establishing the league until he “parted ways” with CSA two weeks ago.

Following a hastily arranged teleconference on Tuesday morning, CSA postponed its much-hyped T20 tournament until November 2018.

“The board takes full responsibility in terms of everything that’s happened, because the board took its trust and put it in the hands of a few individuals,” said Moroe at a press conference in Johannesburg. 

“Obviously not all the information that the board needed to have in order for the board to be comfortable to continue with this league up to this stage… that information wasn’t forthcoming, and some of it is still not forthcoming.

“It only makes sense for the board to agree to postpone this league and to look into the matters of this league as well as CSA, and come out with facts and a way forward.”

Moroe said that the establishment of an inquiry was an option open to the board – “it’s still early stages” – but if that occurred, he hoped to have it wrapped up within a month.

One area that will require scrutiny is the franchise fee licensing agreements.

“The information that went to EY (the accounting firm tasked with vetting the owners), that they are currently sitting with, then us calling our lawyers and saying ‘Have a look at all these agreements in terms of what CSA has entered into and tell us if due process was followed and if everyone was treated the same’.

“Was money paid for licence fees? We need to look at the entire picture for us to pass judgement.”

Moroe said the cost implications for going ahead with the tournament had worsened since he said last Friday that the operating model for the event was “watertight”. Cricket SA were set to lose between R82 million and R109 million every year for the next five years if it went ahead with the tournament.

Haroon Lorgat parted ways with Cricket South Africa over the T20 Global League. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

“We are still very confident with our model, but for it to work, it needs to have money supporting it, and that money cannot be coming from Cricket SA alone,” said Moroe. 

“If you have a model that says ‘I need X-amount from broadcasters and X-amount from sponsorship’, if any of it changes, it automatically forces you to go back and relook your model.

“You can’t keep reworking the model to a point where now CSA is hurting – as far as the board is concerned, it becomes reckless trading.

“The model itself is fine, but it needs to be supported by money coming from outside CSA.”

A significant portion of those funds was to arise from the broadcast deal which Lorgat failed to sign and which hastened his exit from the federation.

Lorgat had on a number of occasions claimed that a broadcast deal was close to being agreed, but it is believed the astronomical figures he demanded could not be met by pay-television broadcasters SuperSport, who were already rights holders for domestic and international cricket in this country.

Some of the owners were disappointed by the decision to postpone the tournament. “They feel that this league could still continue this year. When we take a decision like this, we have to make sure it’s a decision that CSA can live with. Having said that, we must consider everyone involved, not just the owners,” said Moroe.

Meanwhile, staff, including the T20GL’s tournament director, Russell Adams, will remain in position, and will continue the task of setting up the league for which they now have more time.

Moroe wasn’t able to say what would happen with the contracts signed by players and coaches.  

Tony Irish, the SA Cricketers Association (the players union) chief executive, said the body would have to carefully assess what compensation was due to the players.  

“They have all signed contracts and made the various arrangements. Players have given up other opportunities to participate in the T20 Global League. There is a whole range of reasons why the players need to be compensated,” Irish commented.

“What does a postponement actually mean? What are the chances the tournament actually going ahead next year?

“There are a lot of issues in terms of players having confidence in regards to the league getting off the ground after this.”

 

IOL Sport