The ongoing turmoil in South Africa’s cricket has cost them their biggest remaining sponsor – Momentum. The financial services firm was associated with South African cricket since June 2012 but has decided to walk away now due to the ongoing troubles. It is the second time in recent months that Cricket South Africa (CSA) lost a big sponsor.
In December, Standard Bank had ended their 21-year association with the board. A release from Momentum on Tuesday said it would not seek to renew its backing of the national men’s ODI team, the franchise one-day competition, the national club championships, schools’ weeks at under-13, under-15 and under-17 level, and developmental projects when the current contract expires at the end of April next year.
According to report in Cricbuzz, the package was worth in the region of the equivalent of USD 1.2-million a year. It is a massive blow for financially troubled CSA who could be USD 60.7-million in debt by 2022.
“Momentum has expressed that they are not satisfied with the current state of affairs at CSA regarding governance and other reputational issues,” the statement said.
The decision from Momentum might be surprising but it is not a sudden one. In December, the firm had called for the resignation of CSA’s board or that of its president and vice-president. Chris Nenzani quit as president last month but his deputy, Beresford Williams, is now the acting president. Five other board members have resigned too but six are still holding their office.
“We will continue our dialogue with CSA to keep them accountable to do the right thing,” the release quoted Carel Bosman, Momentum’s head of sponsorship, as saying. “We all want to see a governing body that is run professionally and ethically, and one that considers all stakeholders to the game.”
Last week, South Africa Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) had ordered CSA’s board and key staff to step aside. This could further land CSA in trouble as ICC does not allow government interference although SASCOC has denied taking any step like that.
Meanwhile, Momentum will continue to sponsor South Africa’s women team. They are sponsoring the team since 2013 and will do until at least April 2023. The company’s interest has helped CSA offer contracts to 14 women’s players and afford their team a fulltime coaching and support staff.
“We have been extraordinarily proud of our role in supporting the advancement of the women’s team and remain committed to that sponsorship agreement,” Bosman was quoted as saying. “Our continued support… is in line with our brand narrative and we will continue to shine a light on their talent, build their commercial value and enable them on their journey to success.”