India tour to go ahead without Lorgat

FILE PICTURE: Cricket SA CEO Haroon Lorgat. Picture: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images.

FILE PICTURE: Cricket SA CEO Haroon Lorgat. Picture: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images.

Cricket SA (CSA) chief executive Haroon Lorgat will play no part in India’s abridged cricket tour to South Africa, a joint statement issued by CSA and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed on Tuesday.

“The agreement to tour was concluded by the two boards after various concerns were raised around the recent ICC Board meeting in London about the alleged conduct of CSA’s Chief Executive, Mr Haroon Lorgat, and recent comments made about the ICC Board by a former legal advisor to CSA, Mr David Becker,” the statement read.

Becker was the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) head legal advisor from 2007 to 2012, while Lorgat was its chief executive from 2008 to 2012. Earlier this month, Becker was quoted in the media inferring the BCCI controlled world cricket.

“There is one man [Narayanswami Srinivasan] who makes decisions at [ICC] board level and they are certainly not in the interests of world cricket,” Becker wrote. “Directors’ duties, conflicts of interest and matters of ethical compliance are routinely ignored.

“It’s not only hugely concerning for the game, it’s contrary to the regulatory framework within which ICC operates, and hence it’s illegal.” The ICC would convene an investigation by an independent third party into the content and distribution of the media comments, subsequent attempts to have them withdrawn, and, in particular, the role of Lorgat in relation to the matter.

“Pending the outcome of this investigation, CSA has ordered the withdrawal of Mr Lorgat from representing it at the ICC’s Chief Executive’s Committee (or from acting in any other ICC-related matters), and CSA has also withdrawn him from having involvement in any aspect of CSA’s relationship with the BCCI, including but not limited to the upcoming tour,” Tuesday’s joint statement said.

“All parties have agreed that this investigation will be carried out in private, that no further media comment will be made until it has been concluded, and that its findings and recommendations will be binding.”

The BCCI had earlier threatened to cancel the team’s entire tour to South Africa after Lorgat was appointed to CSA’s top post in July. During Lorgat’s ICC tenure he was said to have upset the powerhouse of international cricket.

While his vast experience made him the front-runner for the local post, it also placed in jeopardy the relationship between the two cricket bodies. The BCCI was also said to be unhappy with CSA for prematurely releasing, in July, a proposed 12-match schedule for the tour by India. It included three Tests, seven one-day internationals (ODI), and two Twenty20 matches.

The Indians complained they had not agreed to the itinerary although CSA officials claimed they had the correspondence proving otherwise. The number of matches was in accordance with the Future Tours Programme (FTP) agreed by ICC member countries more than three years ago.

After negotiations back and forth over the past few weeks the two parties finally settled on a revised itinerary of two Tests and three ODIs. Lorgat, however, would play no part in the tour, nor would he have any involvement in the relationship between CSA and the BCCI and would not be permitted to attend any ICC-member meetings or have anything to do with any other ICC-related matters in future.

While CSA would now be seen as bowing down to the BCCI, the cancellation of the entire tour would have incurred a R500 million loss which the South African cricket body could ill afford. As it stands, with the shortened tour, CSA would still lose out on approximately R200m in budgeted revenue.

When chief financial officer Naasei Appiah presented his report at the recent CSA annual general meeting, he said CSA earned the majority of its income from broadcast rights with tours against India and England raking in the highest revenue.

The total revenue over the four-year cycle from 2011-2014 was budgeted at R2.3 billion, and a net profit of R286m was anticipated over the period. These figures were based on the FTP, which included a full end-of-year tour by India.





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19 January 2019 TURFFONTEIN

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