EXCLUSIVE: Another blow for CSA as Proteas Women lose major sponsorship

Proteas captain Dane van Niekerk (Gallo)
Proteas captain Dane van Niekerk (Gallo)

Cape Town - Cricket South Africa (CSA) has received another major blow with the news that the Proteas Women's team has lost its title sponsor. 

Momentum has been sponsoring the women's national side for the last five years, but Sport24 can confirm that the relationship has now ended.

It is a significant blow to CSA, who only recently announced that they had lost Sunfoil as the title sponsor of the domestic four-day competition. 

With RAM also no longer sponsoring the domestic T20 tournament, the Momentum One Day Cup is the only one of three major men's domestic competitions that will start the 2018/19 season with a title sponsor. 

It paints a picture of dark times at CSA as reports of possible law suits continue to do the rounds. 

There are several foreign owners of the previously-named T20 Global League who are threatening legal action against CSA after that tournament was canned towards the end of last year. 

CSA will decide this weekend whether or not it will pursue another international franchise T20 competition towards the end of this year, but the previous owners are not going away quietly. 

While Momentum is still involved in South African cricket, the decision to cut support of the Women's team is telling. 

Interest in Women's cricket in South Africa has been on an upwards curve over the past couple of years, with a number of players now fully-fledged professionals, but this news will provide a stumbling block to that growth.

"That agreement has run its full course," Momentum sponsorship manager Carel Bosman told Sport24 on Wednesday.

"That is a deal that, due to a re-look at our complete marketing strategy and sponsorships, we haven't renewed.

"We would like to see ourselves as truly privileged to have been there when we started with the women five years ago. None of the players were actually contracted by CSA ... they were an amateur squad.

"Through our involvement we managed to get six players contracted initially, and as of this day we have 13 or 14 players contracted. They have moved up the rankings and we supported them at the last World Cup where they went all the way to the semi-finals.

"Even if we are seen as a stepping stone for that team, I know that they are going to go on and do even bigger things. To say we played a pivotal part in that journey is something we feel very strongly about."

Bosman added that Momentum was still fully committed to sponsoring the One Day Cup this year, and while he hoped that partnership to run up until the 2020/21 season, Momentum was currently in the process of reviewing all of its sponsorships.

"Our financial results have just been released nationally and it is a very tough time for business in South Africa," Bosman said.

"All marketing and sponsorship strategies are being reviewed, but for now and for this season we are fully committed."

Bosman could not commit Momentum beyond this season, however. 

"Right now, the agreement looks to be until the conclusion of 2021, but we are reviewing," Bosman said.

Momentum is currently involved with cricket in South Africa on a number of levels including the Momentum Friendship Games, the Momentum National Club Championships, the Multiply Community Cup, the Momentum eKasi Challenge and the national U-13, U-15 and U-17 schools weeks at the end of the year. 

Momentum also sponsors the home ODI fixtures for the men's national side, with three against Zimbabwe and five against Pakistan pencilled in for the upcoming season.

Bosman added that Momentum had gained a lot from their sponsorship of the Women's team and that their relationship with CSA remained sound.

CSA, meanwhile, confirmed the news.

"The Momentum partnership with CSA as the title sponsor of the women’s team has come to an end. Momentum have opted not to renew their sponsorship with CSA for the women’s team as they are reviewing their marketing strategy, including sponsorships," they said in an email to Sport24.

"However, Momentum’s partnership with CSA regarding other notable properties will continue."

The Proteas Women, meanwhile, are next in action when they tour the West Indies later this month while their next major assignment is the ICC Women's World T20, which also takes place in the West Indies in November this year.

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