South African Cricket is a Lot Better Now, Says Sacked CEO Haroon Lorgat
Haroon Lorgat’s controversies-ridden tenure came to an end 36 days before the T20 Global League tournament is scheduled to start.
Haroon Lorgat tried to paint a glowing picture of his tenure as the CEO of Cricket South Africa after his departure from the organization on Sept. 28. A statement released by him spoke about the progress the sport made during his days at the helm, adding that he will now spend more time with his family.
“When I look back and reflect on what I stepped into in 2013‚ I can certainly feel proud of the gigantic steps we have taken to make Cricket SA recognized by others as the best run sports federation on the continent,” he stated. “I am pleased to leave CSA in a solid state and a lot better than when I entered it. I know that I have served the sport with great respect‚ commitment‚ dedication and passion and the results on and off the field bear testimony to that.”
The announcement of the CEO’s premature termination was made by CSA even as Lorgat was meeting Star India chief executive Uday Shankar in Mumbai to sell the rights of the T20 Global League tournament, with the sport body saying that they have “mutually agreed to part ways with immediate effect”.
Lorgat’s termination came as the gap between his promises and delivery was getting wider, with no broadcast deal in place for the T20 Global League tournament, which is set to start in 36 days on Nov. 3. Also, the acrimony between Lorgat and CSA chief financial officer Nassei Appiah over the latter’s exclusion from major decision making regarding the T20 is being seen as a factor. “The reason was due to a breakdown in the relationship between the board and the chief executive,” CSA president Chris Nenzani said in a statement.
The former fast bowler, whose family moved from Gujarat to South Africa, was appointed to the CEO’s post in July 2013, on the heels of the bonus scandal that restructured the CSA board. His appointment was met with disapproval from the Board Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) whose beef with Lorgat come from his tenure as the chief executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC). As a result, the BCCI cut down India’s tour in South Africa from 12 to seven matches in a year. The CSA lost Rs 218 million in revenue.
In June this year, at the launch of the T20 Global League, former players and journalists were flown into London at CSA expense. Some of the former cricketers had no inkling of why they were present, according to the website TimesLive. By August, Brimstone Investment, who were named as a franchise owner at London, pulled out of the tournament, with chief executive Mustaq Brey saying in a statement: “We follow a rigorous investment process.This venture had to undergo the same process and be tested against our standard investment criteria as all other investment proposals.”
Bollywood actress Preity Zinta also came in to buy the franchise suddenly, with the actress reportedly saying that the decision happened when she “bumped into Haroon in a hotel [in Dubai] and that was pretty much it – it was an overnight decision”.
The South Africa board was not keen on more pre-tournament expenses, as the decided budget of R100m approached the limit, and no deal is in sight for broadcast rights in the large markets of India and South Africa, according to Cricbuzz. All this while, Lorgat said that he “could have sold these [T20GL] broadcast rights 12 months ago … so we’re in no rush to go and do something and then say we shouldn’t have.”
CSA vice president Thabang Moroe has taken over from Lorgat as a CEO on acting basis as search for a new boss begins.