JOHANNESBURG - When the "bonus scandal" unfolded in 2009 the South African public was left aghast about a great many issues not least of which was, how the hell did Cricket South Africa’s administrators allow one man to run roughshod over it with so few questions being asked?
Of course some of those administrators were getting their pockets lined, others simply didn’t have the intellectual capacity to grasp what was in front of them. Gerald Majola got sacked.
CSA had to work very hard to restore its reputation. Now just five years since that mess was cleaned up, CSA finds itself in a pigsty once more and again, it’s the board that’s under scrutiny. The interim chief executive Thabang Moroe claimed the board were not kept informed of all the details involved in setting up the T20 Global League.
However, back in July that same board, following a briefing from former chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, “expressed satisfaction with progress,” made to that point with planning for the tournament. At that time it had already been public knowledge that a deal to broadcast the tournament hadn’t been signed, so how was the board “satisfied with progress”?
One of the key lessons from the Majola scandal was that cricket couldn’t be one administrator’s fiefdom. There had to be better oversight and yet as more reasons emerge regarding the T20 Global League's collapse, it seems those oversight mechanisms failed. And the fault for that lies with the board. Surely more heads need to roll once whatever investigation regarding the tournament is concluded.
The reputational damage suffered by CSA is immense. It’s only been five years since a government mandated judicial commission about its administration caused a major shake up and yet here it sits with an ousted chief executive who didn’t properly inform the board about his work, but which the board were - by their own admission - nevertheless satisfied with. They will say they have acted in the last few weeks - parting ways with Lorgat and postponing the tournament.
But they acted too late. The board should have moved long ago and that it didn’ indicates a failure of its management principles. Who would want to trust CSA now?
Whatever shape the tournament takes next year will be with a broadcast deal that’s minimal, while sponsors won’t feel obliged to attach their names to the event at premium prices.
There’s a human element here too - players, coaches, ground-staff, suppliers etc had all banked on a significant payday. They are now out of pocket. Kevin Pietersen tweeted about players being lost to Kolpak, but I’m not too worried about them, they at least have that option. What about those players who don’t have options?
This has been a catastrophic cock-up by CSA, and more than just Lorgat should be made to pay for it.