After the threat of a player strike by South Africa Cricket Association, the crisis has further deepened with Standard Bank, one of the major sponsors of the national cricket team, now not deciding to renew its sponsorship agreement. The move comes as Cricket South Africa is besieged by controversy in the last couple of weeks. The bank will continue to sponsor the team until its agreement with CSA ends on April 30 next year, effectively the end of the current season.
"In light of recent developments at CSA, which are a culmination of long-standing problems which have damaged Standard Bank's reputation, it has decided not to renew its partnership," said Thulani Sibeko, the bank's chief marketing and communications officer.
Further problems for CSA emerged on Thursday night when the Central Gauteng Lions board, one of the major affiliates, demanded the immediate resignation of the entire board of CSA as well as Moroe. Gauteng called for the establishment of an interim board and management team, as well as a forensic audit of CSA. The provincial body claimed it had the support of seven other provinces, which would give them a majority on the 14-member Members' Council, made up of the presidents of affiliates, who in turn elect the board.
SACA has been in conflict with Cricket South Africa chief executive Thabang Moroe, firstly as acting chief executive and subsequent to his full-time appointment in July 2018. There is a pending court action over what SACA claims is CSA's failure to consult with the players and failing to provide detailed financial information in terms of a memorandum of understanding between the two bodies. The latest dispute is over what SACA claims is the unlawful use of players' names and images in a fantasy game based on the ongoing Mzansi Super League Twenty20 competition.
SACA chief executive Tony Irish said in a statement on Wednesday that "CSA has flagrantly disregarded our agreements". Irish said Friday's meeting was "likely to include the possibility of the players taking some industrial, or protest, action." He said strike action had always been considered an option of last resort, "but things have reached a stage where we must ask what SACA and the players are expected to do when the leadership of CSA continues to ignore our legitimate concerns."