CSA say aborted T20 Global League 'not relevant' to forensic investigation despite R192m loss in expenditure

Cricket South Africa board chairperson and president Chris Nenzani gives a speech during the T20 Global League grand launch at the Bvlgari Hotel in London on June 19 2017.
Cricket South Africa board chairperson and president Chris Nenzani gives a speech during the T20 Global League grand launch at the Bvlgari Hotel in London on June 19 2017.
Image: Jordan Mansfield/Gallo Images

The exclusion of the T20 Global League (T20GL) from the Cricket South Africa (CSA) audit and forensic investigation has been labelled as a smokescreen to hide financially crippling decisions from the board by senior officials within the embattled organisation.

The termination of the T20GL in October 2017‚ which resulted in CSA losing R192m in expenditure on it‚ came shortly after the organisation terminated its contract with a Dubai-based company five months into its 10-year agreement.

The terms of reference of the forensic investigation included a review of key decisions taken‚ or not taken‚ by the Members Council and the Board and executed‚ or not‚ by the management team in the past four years from the date of the commission on March 6.

But the T20GL did not form part of the forensic investigation despite significant financial losses incurred on a league that never saw the light of day. CSA rejected claims of a cover-up.

“It is not relevant to the investigation‚” was all CSA could say when asked about the exclusion of the T20GL.

CSA said this despite the league being declared dead in the water in October 2017 and falling well within the four-year scope of investigation.

The ambitious T20GL was planned to rival the Indian Premier League with franchise owners coming from India‚ Pakistan and the UAE.

The big reveal took place at a launch event at London’s most prestigious hotel‚ The Bvlgari‚ in June 2017.

Three different sources this week told TimesLIVE that CSA’s board decision-making relating to the T20GL failed project were so “disgraceful” that the board will do anything in its authority to keep it under wraps.

“If you look at the terms of reference of the whole investigation‚ you will see that they only used the 2018/19 annual report as a key reference and not the other reports from previous years which also fall within the past 48 months‚ which is the scope of the investigation‚” said one source‚ a former CSA high-ranking executive.

“That was meant to conceal the terrible board decision around the Global League.”

Another source said CSA had to compensate player contracts which were already secured and refund deposits made by the eight franchise owners.

“I mean how can you sit on the board‚ you have got contracts of players to play in the T20GL and you cancel the league. You think you are not going to pay compensation to these players?

“Of course you are going to have to. You had to pay the owners out and you had to compensate a whole lot of other people who had contracts with the T20GL‚” said the second source.

“It was the most foolish and disgraceful decision ever. The board has swept a lot of things under carpet regarding the failed project that is T20GL because they are implicated”.

Another source said pay-TV giant SuperSport tabled an offer for the broadcast rights of the T20GL‚ which would have been good enough for CSA to be self-sustainable and arrest its reliance on incoming tours of India‚ Australia and England.

“The deal from SuperSport would have been the final piece in the puzzle. It remains a mystery why a deal never materialised.

"The T20GL project failed supposedly because of a lack of a broadcast partner but a deal was there for the taking.”

A third source said Sky Sports also dangled a multi-million carrot on CSA for the T20GL gig.

“I remember when the negotiations between CSA and SuperSport fell through‚ there were also talks with Sky. An Indian company was also on standby to splash in the money.

“But I think the Indians were only keen on coming on board on condition that (former CSA CEO)) Haroon Lorgat facilitated the deal because as soon as Haroon left then out of the blue the Indian company never came on board‚” said one of the three insiders TimesLIVE spoke to.

CSA ended the 2017/18 financial year with a cash position of R624m and the reserves were depleted to R349m at the conclusion of the 2018/18 with losses in expenditure on the aborted T20GL accounting for most of the slide.


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