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Ken Borland



When there are problems in a relationship, people start looking elsewhere 0

Posted on August 08, 2017 by Ken

 

When the chief executive of SA Rugby talks about “problems in Sanzaar” and feeling “shackled” by the southern hemisphere rugby body, then it is clear South African rugby sees its future as lying elsewhere.

But while Jurie Roux admitted to SA Rugby’s relationship with Sanzaar not being ideal, he stressed that there were no plans to leave the alliance with New Zealand, Australia and Argentina, even though South African rugby will be dallying elsewhere with northern hemisphere competitions like the Pro14.

“This is a very exciting time for South African rugby. We feel shackled in Sanzaar but now we have the opportunity to go north. It gives us options. People think that the Pro14 move is just about the Cheetahs and Kings, but it’s so much more than that.

“With the world calendar not aligned, we were all signing six or seven-year deals that were out of sync with each other. But now we have so many more opportunities and options. I’m super-excited for the Pro14. It’s an elegant solution for our Sanzaar problems,” Roux said on Monday at the announcement of FNB becoming a sponsor of the Springboks.

“We don’t have options in Sanzaar, which means you’re actually nowhere and that’s not where you want to be. But we are really good for each other, so we will still participate in Sanzaar; we are strong because we play against Australia and New Zealand.

“But we can never have eight franchises in Sanzaar, we can have four or five maximum and maybe we’ll even go down to three. But at least we now have options. We still need to play against Australia and New Zealand to be the best, so I don’t see the relationship ending. It’s just the way and how we play that will change. And we’ll have more international exposure up north,” Roux said.

The CEO added that the whole structure of South African rugby competitions would change in 2020 when the global calendar kicks into play.

Roux admitted that the Kings and Cheetahs were like guinea-pigs as they take the first steps into the brave new world of European rugby.

“The Kings will be ready, but it will be a very tough first year for them, although they’ve gone through that before and done pretty well, with Deon Davids one of the most under-rated coaches around; you must watch them from the second year onwards. The Cheetahs are more established and will be there or thereabouts.

“We needed to go north at some stage and we’ll have proof of concept now, you’ll be able to see if it works,” Roux said.

http://citizen.co.za/sport/sport-rugby/1602552/jurie-roux-suggests-the-sanzaar-marriage-is-on-the-rocks/

Why CSA have said no to more franchises 1

Posted on May 02, 2017 by Ken

 

Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat explained on Tuesday that Cricket South Africa have said no to the idea of increasing the number of franchises because they want to give more attention to the semi-professional level that is the second tier of domestic cricket.

There has been speculation over the last couple of years that the number of franchises would be increased from six to either seven or eight. But Lorgat said this has now been put on the backburner, with CSA deciding instead to focus on the next level down.

“The decision actually came out of our domestic review, which was a very detailed report and indicated that there is work to be done at the semi-professional level. We are open-minded about it and there might come a day when we move from six franchises.

“But extra franchises have got to be sustainable and we’re only now at the point where each franchise is, at the very worst, breaking even, although I expect them all to announce surpluses at the end of this financial year at the end of the month. But now we want to grow the base and what we now call semi-professional, we want to make that professional.

“At the moment there are only seven full-time contracts per provincial team in the system and it’s arguable whether players are able to sustain themselves on those contracts. So we want to lift that up and we will take the same money we would have used for a seventh franchise to uplift semi-pro cricket,” Lorgat said at the launch of the Africa Cup 2017 at the Wanderers on Tuesday.

An exodus of players to earn pounds in English cricket has taken its toll on the South African game, and Lorgat said CSA hoped raising the standard and lucrativeness of cricket below franchise level would encourage players to stay.

“If we can raise the competitive nature of that cricket then we can use that tier to hopefully sustain guys until they get a crack at franchise level. The Africa Cup has brought more names to the fore and I know the coaches are excited about the opportunity it gives players to shine. We’ve identified the second tier as being an area where we need to widen opportunity,” Lorgat said.

The Africa Cup is the T20 competition that has kicked off the last two seasons and is considered the bridge between senior provincial and franchise cricket, with the 12 CSA provinces plus KZN Inland and Zimbabwe, Namibia and Kenya playing in a tournament that mixes fully professional cricketers with those from the semi-pro ranks.

The Africa Cup has been the gateway to success for players like Heinrich Klaasen, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi and Andile Phehlukwayo, who are all now part of the Proteas’ plans.

Lorgat confirmed that following the Africa Cup in August/September and the introduction of the new showpiece global T20 league in November/December, the existing franchises’ CSA T2O Challenge will now shift to late summer, probably in April 2018.

“There is a risk of too much T20 cricket, but access of opportunity is really the driver and it also brings more transformation players to the fore. We have to develop players and give them opportunities to aspire towards developing into something more. We have the Africa Cup and the T20 global league and we’ve got to have something in between.

“First-class and 50-over cricket are acknowledged as being crucial in the development of players, whether there are supporters watching or not, so it will be the same for the CSA T2O Challenge at the end of the season,” Lorgat said.

The draw for the Africa Cup, which starts on August 25 and will be hosted on successive weekends by Benoni, Potchefstroom, Bloemfontein and Kimberley, was made on Tuesday and defending champions Eastern Province find themselves in the same pool as hosts North-West, dominant provincial side Northerns and Gauteng.

Draw

Pool A   (Willowmoore Park, 25-27 August): Easterns, Western Province, South-Western Districts, Namibia.

Pool B   (Senwes Park, 1-3 September): North-West, Northerns, Gauteng, Eastern Province.

Pool C   (Mangaung Oval, 9-11 September): Free State, KZN Inland, Zimbabwe, Boland.

Pool D   (Diamond Oval, 15-17 September): Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Kenya, Border.

http://citizen.co.za/sport/sport-cricket/1484582/domestic-cricket-isnt-going-to-get-bigger-anytime-soon-says-csa/

John Smit Q&A 0

Posted on July 28, 2016 by Ken

 

While the Sharks team has scrapped their way into the SuperRugby playoffs, an off-field battle has been polluting the waters around KwaZulu-Natal rugby. John Smit, who has announced he will be stepping down as chief executive, with Gary Teichmann, another former Springbok captain, announced this week as his successor, answers Ken Borland’s questions about the controversies and successes of his term.

What has caused the delay in the financial statements?

 

JS: Essentially we were renegotiating our debt/equity situation and the favourable outcome was announced this week with the recapitalisation of shares. It has some complexities, but in essence SuperSport have acquired 9% from KZNRU and then both entities have been issued more shares, together with another financial instrument, the net effect of which is that the Sharks have R40m recapitalised. Furthermore, we were trying to make sure that any future arrangement benefited our schools, clubs and development programmes. To this end Supersport really stepped up to the plate and we are most fortunate to be able to count on them as a shareholder. They will support our amateur organisation to grow our school base, clubs and support our development programme. We’re in a great space.

The economic downturn has affected all the franchises, but just how badly off are the Sharks?

JS: I don’t think it is news that our franchises are under pressure with attempting to retain players while competing with foreign currency, but we as a franchise had to do something to stem the tide and create a business plan that takes us back to operating successfully on both fronts, on the field and off. With this amazing move from SuperSport to inject R40m into the Sharks we can now realistically look at having a profit-bearing budget for the first time in over a decade by 2019. We have had to think smartly as to how we contract players and as frustrated as people have been this year with on-field performance, our new, much younger squad with far less internationals has in its first year together qualified for the playoffs, which for me is a great sign considering the draw of death we were in. This group is signed with us for the next few years and I can’t wait to see how they blossom. Our financial performance in 2016 is right on track and will reflect some of the major changes already implemented. Losses should not exceed R5m and hopefully we do a little better.

How has your relationship been with KZNRU president Graham McKenzie and chairman of the board Stephen Saad?

 

JS: These two men as well as others on the board have been very supportive of me in my tenure, Stephen has given me so much of his time, for which I am truly grateful as he runs a massive business, values time with his family immensely and he has always found time to assist with every issue I brought him over the last three years.

Are you satisfied with the number of sponsors on board and the key relationships you have developed for the union during your time as CEO?

 

JS: This is probably the area of the business I enjoyed most and looking back on the revenue we managed to increase on the sponsorship front over the last three years is pleasing. The fact that Cell C have bought into the vision and plan for this team’s future by renewing for a further three years is probably our biggest victory in this rebuilding phase. The other very important relationship that needed mending was with our very own city. Being one of Durban’s greatest assets I found it sad how far removed we were from each other and can proudly say that we now truly are partners. Durban Tourism has been instrumental in us being able to host the All Blacks this year and from there the discussions around a possible stadium move emerged, now knowing full well that any such move would need to benefit both parties should it happen.

You have been criticised for getting rid of Sharks stalwarts like John Plumtree and Rudolf Straeuli, what were the reasons for your decisions?

 

JS: I think in my three years one thing I could count on was that every time the team lost I was guaranteed to hear or read about Plum not being renewed! So much has been written and said about this issue but I have to say I was devastated at how it was handled. I had a very different idea in my mind of how this process was going to unfold while still in the UK, until one journalist and ex-coach decided to play their part. Never was it my intention to have Plum treated like that and he is justifiably angry. The discussion I wanted to have with Plum was to be one-on-one to ascertain where he saw himself currently and why he believed we hadn’t excelled at SuperRugby yet with the quality of squad we had. One needs to remember that coming in as a new CEO making that change was not an easy one or one taken without the consultation of many players, board members and rugby people close to the brand, with the most important part of this process being taken away by not being able to discuss with Plum himself. The irony is Plum had for months prior to my appointment been asking my predecessor to extend his contract with no luck. It is sad for me how it turned out, Plum was a friend of mine and as a coach I enjoyed playing under him while at the Sharks.

Rudolf asked to leave when offered the Lions CEO post. My relationship with him is still strong and I have always enjoyed Rudolf, his success at the Lions is no surprise to me. He was a great asset to us.

 

Do you have any advice for your successor?

 

JS: Wow, how long do we have! On a serious note though, I’m delighted that Gary Teichmann is our next CEO. We have sat down and discussed the areas integral to the business and where the possible hurdles lie. My advice to him was to try and block out the noise and focus on the job, he too will have similar challenges as I did being a high-profile person coming in and it’s important he knows that the same people who pump up his tyres now will slash them at will when they don’t get what they feel they need. So the best advice I can give is the same advice I was given many years ago: Decide your direction of journey, stay on course and don’t be distracted by either the good or bad noise along the way.

 

 

CSA rise up against BCCI bullies with Lorgat appointment 0

Posted on July 18, 2016 by Ken

 

Cricket South Africa’s appointment of Haroon Lorgat as their new chief executive is a welcome uprising against the bully-boy tactics and undue influence of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The 53-year-old Lorgat, the former chief executive of the International Cricket Council, was announced as the new CEO of CSA on the weekend and is the first permanent appointment in the key role since the disgraced Gerald Majola was suspended (and later sacked) in March 2012 in the wake of the bonus scandal that followed South Africa’s hosting of the Indian Premier League in 2009.

But despite clearly being the best candidate for the job – Lorgat was a highly-respected former player, he was convenor of the national selection panel, he runs his own successful chartered accountancy business, he has cricket administration experience at the highest level – and although various members of the CSA board have been seeking his return for the last couple of years, Lorgat was only appointed on the weekend, three-and-a-half months later than the original April deadline for a new CEO.

That’s because the BCCI made it clear in February that they did not want Lorgat heading up South African cricket. He and the then-president of the BCCI, Narayanaswami Srinivasan, have history of the wrong sort.

The reasons for Srinivasan’s antagonism range from Lorgat’s backing of the Decision Review System, contrary to India’s wishes; his decision to move the 2011 World Cup match between India and England away from Eden Gardens in Kolkata because the stadium wasn’t ready; his refusal to entertain Srinivasan’s push for the ICC to move their headquarters from Dubai to Mumbai; and Lorgat’s backing of the findings of the Lord Woolf Commission, which warned about the unhealthy influence India had on the ICC.

The BCCI’s bully-boy tactics would impress the average corrupt South African cop and any country which has voted against their viewpoint at ICC meetings has suffered the fall-out – losing out on lucrative tours by the Indian team, being denied a place in the Champions League T20 or having their players banned from the IPL.

It was the unseemly wealth of the IPL that eventually caused the BCCI to be exposed as a den of iniquity from within: Srinivasan, who also happens to own the Chennai Super Kings, stood aside as president in June when he could no longer plead ignorance of the corruption and match-fixing within the IPL.

Because the BCCI generate by far the most revenue in global cricket, they have their hands in every pie and even something as noble as the ICC Cricket Committee has been commandeered to suit their vision of a DRS-less world.

The Daily Maverick reported as far back as February that although Lorgat was the favourite to be become permanent CEO, this was unlikely because the BCCI were opposed to his appointment.

But the sidelining of Srinivasan has enabled Cricket South Africa to grow some balls and appoint the best candidate for the position, even though president Chris Nenzani denied on Monday that events in India had had any influence on the process.

That after CSA missed promised deadlines for the appointment in both early April and June.

“When we went to India in February, we spoke to the president of the BCCI [Srinivasan] and he expressed certain concerns about Haroon’s possible appointment. We made clear to him that we would not ignore his concerns, but we would have to act in the best interests of cricket in South Africa.

“There’s no link between what has happened in India and Haroon’s appointment now. They are going through a period of challenges in India, but we can’t afford to get entangled in that and Haroon’s appointment was done in the best way for CSA,” Nenzani said.

Louis von Zeuner, one of the new independent directors on the CSA board and a former deputy CEO of Absa, made it clear that he would not allow outside influences to meddle with what’s best for South African cricket on his watch.

“We take decisions in the interests of South African cricket and we don’t allow influences that don’t follow sound governance,” Von Zeuner said. “There are several stakeholders in South African cricket and we listen to all opinions and then take the opinion that is right for the country.”

Lorgat ran the ICC between 2008 and 2012 with a steely focus on what was best for the game in general and, with the importance of the BCCI in mind, he said on Monday that he would sit down with his Indian detractors and try to find common ground.

“It’s probably right that I don’t speak too much about it, but I was particularly saddened by the inferences that came from India. I never expected to end with such a poor relationship with them. But I will do my level best to understand their concerns and do whatever it takes to mend things. If I need to apologise, I will do so with no hesitation.

“There’s no doubt India is a major player and we must respect India. We don’t want to be out-of-favour with them, but I did what I thought was best for cricket,” Lorgat said.

The incoming CEO, who will take office on August 1 and has signed a three-year contract, also said he was happy with the new composition of the CSA board, saying a change in structure as recommended by the Nicholson Commission was a prerequisite for him to accept the post.

“Many people cajoled me to get involved in South African cricket again but one aspect I wanted was for there to be a new board with a sufficient independent component. I offered my availability once that new board was in place in early February.

“The new board is operating well, from what I’ve seen. We had a 90-minute session on the weekend and I saw the manner in which they operate with contributions from both the independent and non-independent side. I’m a fan of independent involvement because they don’t serve vested interests and I saw that. I’m confident this board will function as a very good corporate board.

“They are very mindful of good corporate governance since being restructured in line with the recommendations of the Nicholson Commission. We must all be conscious of it, but I’m not too concerned with governance because the people on the board will ensure that. I come from that background, it’s second nature for me, I trained in it and it’s how we did things at the ICC,” the chartered accountant said.

http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2013-07-23-sa-cricket-all-hail-haroon-lorgat/#.V4zAFvl97IU



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