Cricket

CSA sponsor issues ultimatum for contract renewal

9:38 AM ET

Pressure is mounting on CSA’s board, specifically president Chris Nenzani and vice-president Beresford Williams, after financial services company Momentum, which sponsors CSA, issued an ultimatum over its tenure. In a statement released on Thursday afternoon, Momentum asked for the CSA board or Nenzani and Williams to step down as one of six conditions that must be met if it is to renew its contract with CSA when it ends on April 30, 2020.

Momentum’s statement comes three days after the South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA) said it would not be willing to negotiate with a CSA panel in a bid to repair its relationship with the game’s governing body if the panel were to include any members of the current board. SACA called on the board to step down and claimed it was as responsible for CSA’s current crises, which range from governance to financial issues, as suspended CEO Thabang Moroe. Now, Momentum has echoed SACA’s sentiments.

“We have outlined very specific governance and reputational requirements that CSA has to deliver on in order to restore confidence in the administrating body of South African cricket,” Carel Bosman, head of sponsorships at Momentum, said. “We will be holding the CSA board accountable to get its house in order. Failing such remedy, Momentum will have to reconsider its sponsorship agreement at the end of the current season.”

Momentum’s requirements of CSA address both leadership and financial affairs. Apart from the removal of the entire board or the resignations of Nenzani and Williams, they also include the appointment of a lead independent director – a position which has been vacant since Norman Arendse’s tenure ended just over a year ago – the appointment of someone with on-field cricket experience to the board, and engagement with SACA to resolve long-running disputes over a proposed restructure of the domestic system.

So far, CSA has lost three independent board members – Shirley Zinn, Mohamed Iqbal Khan and Dawn Mokhono – as well as one provincial president. Jack Madiseng, president of the Gauteng Cricket Board, who was thought to be in line to be CSA’s next president, resigned on Wednesday night. The remainder of the board consists of two independent directors – Steve Cornelius and Marius Schoeman – four other provincial presidents – Zola Thamae, Tebogo Siko, Donovan May and Angelo Carolissen – and Nenzani and Williams.

Donovan May has come out in support of the CSA board, telling TimesLive that he believes the board has “been doing a good job”. His comments, made before Momentum’s statement came out, also said demands from outside CSA that the board is stood down are unreasonable. “SACA have no right to call for the removal of the CSA board. The only people or body that can remove the CSA board is the members’ council, not the public and certainly not the media,” May said.

Apart from new leadership at board level, Momentum also wants CSA to have an independent forensic audit (which is already in the works) and to conduct a four-year ongoing assessment by independent auditors, which suggests Momentum wants reassurances about CSA’s validity as a business.

While Momentum acknowledged that the process will be difficult, it made it clear it is crucial to its future relationship with CSA. “This process is not going to be easy and we expect a fair bit of pain as the independent audit and resulting corrective actions unfold. We believe CSA will act decisively and with transparency so that cricket in South Africa can move forward,” Bosman said.

Momentum’s requests are unlikely to be brushed aside because it is one of only a few financial backers CSA has at the moment. The company sponsors men’s one-day cricket in South Africa, including international series, the domestic competition, the club championship and Under-13, Under-15 and Under-17 age-group cricket.

Momentum is the second sponsor to cite a lack of good governance as a reason for reconsidering its association with CSA after Standard Bank, which backs the men’s Test team, announced it would not renew its deal with CSA when it concludes on April 30, 2020.

Article source: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/1209881.html?CMP=OTC-RSS

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