Transformation: Worried cricket bosses launch audit into lack of change on and off the field

2010-09-21 00:00

THE contentious subject of transformation is being thrown about again, with Cricket South Africa (CSA) the latest to voice concern at the lack of progress within its own ranks.

Hot on the heels of Absa’s criticism of the predominantly “white” Currie Cup, the chief executive of CSA, Gerald Majola, expressed concern at the lack not only of the “next Makhaya Ntini”, but also of the progress in other aspects, from coaches and umpires to administration.

So worried are the top officials of SA cricket that they have initiated an audit into “Africanisation” in the sport at all levels.

“There has been insufficient progress for sure, and the next goal is to find ways to improve this,” Majola said at yesterday’s CSA roadshow at Kingsmead.

CSA has undertaken a national whistle-stop tour fronted by Majola and Kass Naidoo (brand and corporate relations manager) to present all stakeholders with a clear insight into the CSA business model and where it is headed.

The lack of transformation in most parts of the country is a major worry, and Majola said they are looking to implement forums at every level to find out the reasons behind the slow pace of change.

“We want to tap into what problems are stopping these players — and administrators — from coming through the ranks,” he explained.

Majola said the problems facing black Africans are unique and that although the talent is there, other factors, such as literacy, often get in the way.

“We need to iron these out, because this is something that needs to be rectified.”

Despite a commercially viable cover model in the Proteas — whose consistent showings have helped CSA reap handsome broadcast deals and sponsorships — Majola said the gap between the top players and amateurs is widening.

CSA is also concerned about the player drain to the United Kingdom, he added.

“We are currently looking at implementing a ‘semi-pro’ league to keep players interested before they make it to the franchise level, but that would only be next season.

 

In the wake of its most successful year — with a profit of some R130 million after hosting the IPL and Champions Trophy — CSA was in the spotlight for the significant bonuses paid out to its employees, particularly the sums to the likes of Majola and other high-ranking officials.

Majola said that the bonuses are being investigated, but he downplayed the move as a matter of procedure.

He revealed that CSA’s turnover in the last financial year was over R500 million and added that they are expecting a turnover in excess of R700 million this season with the arrival of the Indians in December.

“India provides huge broadcast revenue, but I think the days of massive TV deals are coming to an end,” he warned.

Majola side-stepped rumours that the SABC will significantly reduce its coverage of Proteas’ cricket from this season.

“We are currently negotiating with SABC, so I cannot comment on pure speculation,” he said.

Majola also explained CSA’s stance on the upcoming series against controversy-stricken Pakistan.

“We are obliged to honour that series because it is part of the Future Tours Programme,” he explained.

He said the tour will be lucrative for CSA, and that if they failed to honour it, they would face a sizeable fine from the International Cricket Council.

“Look, they [Pakistan] are carrying on with their tour in England, and the ICC doesn’t seem to have a problem with that.

“So we will go to Dubai and play against Pakistan.”

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