South Africa news September 22, 2013

CSA underestimated cost of BCCI warning


While uncertainty hangs over India's tour to South Africa later this year, it has emerged that Cricket South Africa (CSA) might have underestimated the risk of appointing Haroon Lorgat as its chief executive despite BCCI's strong reservations against him.

While the BCCI's antipathy towards Lorgat is well known in cricket circles, Jacques Faul, the former acting CSA chief, revealed to ESPNcricinfo that N Srinivasan, the BCCI president, had categorically warned that the tour might be at risk and CSA would stand to lose financially if they went ahead with Lorgat's appointment. Faul, who is now in charge of the Titans franchise, told ESPNcricinfo that Srinivasan had communicated as much to Willie Basson, CSA's acting president at the time.

The conversation, according to Faul, took place during a Champions League T20 meeting in Malaysia in December 2012. Faul then approached Srinivasan himself and suggested that the BCCI could not tell CSA who to appoint as chief executive, but he was told that the BCCI wasn't telling them who to appoint, but who not to appoint.

However, over the subsequent months, CSA assumed that the financial fallout of ignoring that warning would be "minimal". During this period Lorgat had secured an endorsement letter from IS Bindra, the former BCCI president and known critic of the current setup. It is unclear whether CSA assumed that a change of guard in India was imminent, but conversations between this reporter and several of the CSA officials involved in the discussions revealed that the board went ahead with the appointment after being satisfied with Lorgat's version of events.

Lorgat, a former ICC chief executive, had been CSA's preferred candidate from the outset but it did not appoint him until it discussed the implication of the decision - which the BCCI indicated it would strongly object to - for cricket in the country.

The BCCI's specific opposition to Lorgat has not been made public but Basson confirmed he heard that the board wanted charges of misconduct investigated against Lorgat during his time at the ICC (it is on record that Srinivasan raised this particular issue during an ICC board meeting). Basson had approached Lorgat about the issue and was satisfied with the response he got.

"It did come up at the ICC board meetings I went to and there were rumours, but it was not discussed because he was leaving the ICC," Basson said. "I had discussions with him about the underlying issues. He denied that he had done anything wrong. He said whatever he had done as ICC chief executive was within accepted business practices and had the approval of the ICC president. I was comfortable with what I took away from my discussion with him."

Lorgat applied for the CSA job after the board was restructured on February 2, confirming he had submitted his CV the next day. In March, a CSA delegation headed by its lead director Norman Arendse visited India where, again, the BCCI's concerns about Lorgat were made known.

The following month, CSA's recruitment agency asked Faul, who had already left the organisation to take up the job of Titans chief executive, to apply for the position. He declined. CSA said they had not compiled a shortlist at that time and in May issued a release saying the search for a chief executive was "running on schedule," even though it was already a month late.

The delay was never explained but at a CSA board meeting held during that period, one member asked what the financial ramifications of appointing Lorgat would be. Another director on the board answered, "minimal".

It has since emerged that CSA made a potentially colossal error of judgment. The board stands to lose up to R200 million if the tour is shortened, a likely development with the BCCI shrinking the available window. If it is cancelled, the losses CSA will incur could impact the game in South Africa for years to come.

CSA have refused to comment until after the BCCI's annual general meeting on September 29, when it will be known whether Srinivasan is elected for another term as president. CSA has continued to function as usual, holding off-season conferences, ranging from a coaches seminar to a transformation indaba.

One administrator told ESPNcricinfo that these activities have a feel of normalcy to them until the formal discussions are adjourned. Then, in the corridors, there is deep concern among officials who fear India may not visit South Africa at all and the game will be financially crippled. "We are s**t scared," the official said. "All of us."

A solution to curb the BCCI's power is difficult to find so all CSA can do for now is placate their former ally, but how to do that is unclear. It may mean a premature end to Lorgat's tenure or, as some administrators have mentioned, a legal claim on the BCCI. However, because the FTP is not binding, CSA may have to consider turning to an authority such as the Court of Arbitration for Sport, although the ICC is not a signatory to it. So for now, CSA can only ponder the cost of Lorgat's appointment.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mark on September 27, 2013, 9:18 GMT

    Just as the BCCI is independent, so is CSA. Is it right that the BCCI wield so much power, that basically amounts to blackmail. They are punishing an independent board for appointing somebody they do not like. They are in fact, costing South Africans millions of dollars in Cricket investment. CSA is not the one who will feel it, but the public and infrastructure. CSA wil carry on earning it's inflated salaries. BCCI should work through the mother body with complaints. IT has to right to interfere or choose another boards members just because it is all powerful. IT is selfishly not hurting CSA but the game of cricket and the games loyal supporters...all for pride and inflated egos.

  • Dummy4 on September 26, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    South Africa and India have great diplomatic and trade ties and I think this matter has now turned into a political situation which I think should then be resolved as such. The inteferance of politicians in sports has been condemmed in the past and I have also been very vocal about that. But we as South Africans cannot be deprived of such a tour and a chance to see the world's best in our shores just because of a clash of egos. I propose that a diplomatic solution be sought in this matter. Its not about Mr. Lorgat and Mr. Srinivasan anymore, its about millions of cricket lovers who might miss the opportunity to watch the two great giants clash. Both gentlemen must not use this platform to settle their scores. Let the masses enjoy the tour. Viva Indian tour Viva.

  • Luka on September 23, 2013, 15:59 GMT

    There is a lot of division among the readers here. It is unfortunate that this much-anticipated clash will be cut short now, but I do not think BCCI is at much fault here. CSA have not taken the most idealistic steps for themselves by appointing Lorgat, nor by coming out with a ridiculously long tour schedule without any prior consultation. The BCCI were probably already going to organise Sachin's 200th test in India and then send the team across for the tests and minimal number of ODIs. But this unnecessary aggravation has caused BCCI to hit back.

    Finally, no country can or will break bonds with India, because of the financial gains they (AND THE PLAYERS) receive from each and every match played here. And if they try, we will literally see bankrupt boards and free agents (like Chris Gayle did a couple of years ago), ready to play in the IPL and a "Packer" series. Readers must understand that the cricketers want to secure their future as well and money is of prime importance to many.

  • Chetan on September 23, 2013, 15:52 GMT

    Quoting from this article itself -"Basson confirmed he heard that the board wanted charges of misconduct investigated against Lorgat during his time at the ICC (it is on record that Srinivasan raised this particular issue during an ICC board meeting)" There is no update on whether these "charges of misconduct" were ever investigated. CSA have chosen to appoint a man who has been accused of misconduct & has done nothing to address the charges...he has agreed to apologise too (leaving us think the charges might be true). If the charges against him were incorrect, why did Lorgat not ask ICC for an investigation & have them cleared ? Hiring Lorgat without getting the charges cleared, CSA is telling BCCI to get lost. BCCI have obliged. CSA & their backers have a problem with that ? Didn't you know that you can't have your cake & eat it too ?

  • AJay on September 23, 2013, 15:20 GMT

    The CSA did not make an error or judgement. They were brave enough to bring this issue to the fore and in so doing, I hope BCCI's member associations have the sense to elect a new executive. After all, if all this above is beyond doubt, the current Board have brought shame to the administration of cricket in India.

  • TARIQ on September 23, 2013, 14:09 GMT

    Moonda asking the wrong question here, it should be the BCCI and not CSA who should be questioned here, what kind of blow the belt tactics are these? cancelling the ftp series just weeks before where the host nation has sold rights to hosting the matches only to learn right at the last minute that touring board had "Issues" with the appointment of a CE of the host's board??,,,what is this to do with the tour?? very cheap tactics, its not interfering, its down right black mailing and BCCI should be hold accountable to its responsibilities towards FTP by ICC. To all those Indian Fans who are siding with BCCI, bragging about the wealth and power of money and all that""needs to be reminded that we tax payers in UK pays lot of charity to India, may be BCCI could give away some money so India don't have to take charities from other countries.

  • sanket on September 23, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    Posted by YorkshirePudding on (September 23, 2013, 10:33 GMT)

    to Answer your question, No cricket board is allowed to Interfere on the matters of other cricket board.

    but my Question to you is DID BCCI INTERFER?

    Intereference would have been, when BCCI would have used it Financial might to stop the election.

    please read CSA official came to India to meet BCCI & said hello Mr. BCCI, we are appointing MR. A as our COO.

    BCCI - look Mr. CSA,we had very friendly relationship in Past, but we had a very bad experience with MR. A in past & we would not like to work with him Again.

    I do not see any interference over here, BCCI just responded to Questions put to them?

    Why did CSA came to BCCI & not any other boards? Why did Mr. Logart obtaind NOC from Mr. Bindra (& btw just who is he ?) Why did CSA accepted letter from Mr. Nobody? Why did CSA annoucned tour schedule without consent of BCCI?


  • Bhaskar on September 23, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    BCCI rules as usual, pcb, slcb, sacb are all under BCCI. The boss dicatates :)

  • Manesh on September 23, 2013, 11:24 GMT

    I still remember monopoly of ECB and ACB where Asian teams considered as dummys.Everyone were depending on Eng/Aus. They isolated SA, refused to play ZIM and SL. But India played at ZIM and SL (remember the WC matches) and invite SA for a tour right after its 2nd entry. Now boards are depending on BCCI to pay their debits. But unfortunately, some people considered themselves as boss and they tried to give orders. that make things worse.

  • Cricinfouser on September 23, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    @Fan1969 - Actually Angela Merkel doesn't 'get her way' in Europe, or even in Germany for that matter. She is successful because she seeks consensus and avoids dogma. Something here for cricket administrators to learn. Your viewpoint is simplistic and certainly naive too.