Nothing standard about Proteas new sponsor
Johannesburg - After last week’s embarrassing late postponement, Cricket South Africa (CSA) was finally able to announce Standard Bank as a headline sponsor of the national team on Wednesday, rekindling an old association that was among the most innovate relationships between a sponsor and a major sporting organisation in this country.
The acrimony which surrounded Standard Bank cutting ties with CSA five years ago was all but forgotten on Wednesday as the financial institution renewed its relationship with CSA for the next four years, in a deal understood to be worth about R300 million.
The deal was to be announced a week ago, but in an embarrassing late postponement CSA called it off at the last minute, leading to what one insider described as a “very stressful” few days as i’s were re-dotted and t’s are re-crossed.
Standard Bank was the only sponsor in the running for such a new deal.
The new sponsorship deal will see Standard Bank’s emblem emblazoned across the national team’s shirts in all three formats. “This is an historic sponsorship that sees Standard Bank take charge of all three teams,” said CSA’s chief executive Haroon Lorgat.
CSA’s current national team sponsors; Momentum, Blue Label Telecom, Sunfoil and SA Breweries would all remain on board – with Momentum and Sunfoil retaining their status as event sponsors of one-day and Test series, respectively.
In between thanking Standard Bank for their return into the cricket fold, Lorgat outlined how his organisation was also in the midst of interrogating a number of new initiatives for the local game that included a relaunch of the T20 league, the reviews of domestic cricket and the national team and how it was pleased about the governance reviews currently being undertaken by the International Cricket Council.
Those latter initiatives, Lorgat hoped, would lead to a more inclusive organisation that would also seek to, crucially, expand the game into new areas, following a period of bitterness in the wake of the takeover by the so called ‘big three’ national associations – the England Cricket Board, Cricket Australia and the Board of Control for Cricket in India – in 2014.
CSA is also going to meet with Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula on Saturday to provide further clarity about its transformation initiatives following the Minister’s explosive announcement last month that prohibited some major sports organisations, including cricket, from bidding to host international events in the country, owing to what the Minister described as a failure to abide by prescribed transformation targets.
“We believe fundamentally in the need for transformation. We were caught by surprise by the minister’s comments but we are confident we can reach agreement with him.”