JOHANNESBURG - Is a week long enough time to clear the toxicity which settled over Cricket South Africa in the last few months and culminated in Haroon Lorgat “parting ways” with the organisation?
It’s clear there was a lot of unhappiness with Lorgat concerning how he went about planning the T20 Global League. Some big hitters within Cricket SA’s administration - particularly chief finance officer Nassei Appiah - felt sidelined as Lorgat put himself almost solely in charge of negotiating the critical deals for broadcasting the event and for the competition’s title sponsor.
CSA was supposed to have left this sort of pettiness in its past. Gerald Majola fostered and used division within - an admittedly weak administration - to strengthen his hold over the organisation and amidst his political manoeuvrings (and his greed) lost sight of the most important elements of his job.
There is no evidence at this stage to suggest Lorgat was doing the same, but clearly a void was created between him and some of his co-workers. The T20 Global League was going to be his “legacy” to the game in South Africa and perhaps so single-minded was his focus that he lost sight of some very important relationships, whether with fellow administrators or even CSA’s commercial partners.
The fact that the stand-in chief executive Thanbang Moroe said negotiations with SuperSport about broadcasting the T20 Global League needed to start “afresh” after Lorgat’s exit, doesn’t paint a very good picture of Lorgat’s negotiating methods.
Beside’s the failure to finalise broadcasting and commercial deals related to the T20 Global League, accusations about a lack of transformation within the administration were also blamed on Lorgat. It doesn’t appear to be a happy environment and it’s not certain that only removing Lorgat will change that - certainly not in one week.
I’ve stopped being surprised at how immature sports administrators in SA can be. Too often, whether it be Sascoc, Safa, SA Rugby, Athletics SA and now - once again - CSA, the games they administer seem to take place despite the administrators and not because of them.
Just five years after the "bonus scandal" which ultimately led to Majola’s downfall, CSA once again finds itself in a mess of its administrators' making. For all the positive steps taken in establishing a board of directors, with a modern outlook and supposedly of great integrity, issues of trust have once again sown division.
The T20 Global League will go ahead as it must - because if it doesn’t how deeply embarrassing would that be for everyone in SA cricket? A broadcast deal is in place, content from the competition will - crucially - be shared with the SABC and there will be a lot of razzmatazz for six weeks starting in November.
But there’s still too much enmity and suspicion circling around CSA’s administration. It’s going to take a whole lot longer than a week for that to clear.