Sport

Cricket South Africa’s AGM: Five things you need to know

By Antoinette Muller 14 September 2014

CSA concluded their AGM on Saturday with no real surprises - other than still posting a profit, despite the fact that India pulled a fast one with the incoming tour last year. There is also the promise of much, much more international cricket on home soil. ANTOINETTE MULLER picks five of the most important points.

For most average sports fans, the business of sport is quite boring. In South Africa, where Cricket South Africa was once marred by a bonus scandal and more recently, the chaos of a truncated Indian tour, the business of sport has become of more interest to the public. CSA had their AGM on the weekend and the results were surprising in some aspects.

There was a lot of corporate speak, but there were also some juicy numbers and some good news items for fans who have been begging to see their team in action more often. Once everything is digested, here are the most important things you need to know.

The Indian tour didn’t cost CSA so much in the end

While losing out on a bumper tour against India certainly played a part, CSA still managed to post a R199 million profit. It’s only about R20 million short of the target, but it’s good news for CSA. The audited financial statements showed revenue of R810,607,000 for the year ended April 30, 2014, with expenses of R634,092,000.

With investment income of R17,324,000 and a net foreign exchange gain of R5,571,000, CSA was able to present a total profit of R199,410,000 for the financial year. This is only R18 million less than the targeted profit despite the calamitous curtailing of the lucrative Indian tour to South Africa late last year. CSA’s innovation of the “Festival of Cricket” which replaced the New Year’s Test this year contributed to this revenue boost, as did the additional incoming tour Pakistan. Additional broadcasting deals also played a part in CSA almost hitting its targets, even when they overspent in other areas.

CSA exceeded budgeted expenses in the last financial year: with R500m initially budgeted per year, they spent over R600 million. For the next four-year cycle, the budget for expenses has been increased to R650 million per year.

Russell Domingo gets a contract extension

Russell Domingo’s tenure might have got off to a shaky start, but he has grown superbly since then. It’s perhaps no surprise that since then, his contract has been extended until 2016 – depending on results, of course. Even after nearly two years in the job, Domingo still has a lot to learn and his toughest test to date will come next year when South Africa takes part in the World Cup. He might not be expected to bag a trophy; he’s perhaps just expected to stop the cycle of “choking”. He has a solid group of players to work with and has helped the team start the transition out of the Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis era with relative ease. The West Indies, who tour South Africa over the summer, shouldn’t be too much of a challenge and bring yet another opportunity to blood some youngsters as the side continues to build for the future. Team manager Dr Mohammed Mosajee has also had his contract extended.

But the future of his deputies will still be discussed

South Africa’s support staff entourage is nowhere near that of other teams, but quite a few backroom staff contribute to the smooth operation of the side. Adrian Birrell (assistant), Allan Donald (bowling), Claude Henderson (spin bowling), Paddy Upton (performance), Greg King (conditioning), Riaan Muller (logistics), Brandon Jackson (physiotherapist) and Prasanna Agoram (video analysis) will all have their contracts assessed and negotiations for their futures will now commence.

CSA aren’t desperate to cut costs as it stands, so it is entirely feasible that all support staff will have their contracts renewed, if they so wish. Allan Donald might be the only one who could opt out. Family issues forced him out of the tour to the UAE last year and he could choose to be closer to his family instead of having to deal with the pressures of a touring international team.

More cricket is coming, or so they say

South Africa has always suckled on the hind teat of scheduling and has often been left short when it comes to playing Tests. But the new Future Tours Programme could change that. For one, the next schedule (once it is finalised) will likely see the South African team in action on home soil for an average of 46 days per year, compared to 32 on average in the previous cycle.

The 2017-18 season is likely to be the most lucrative with four international teams set to tour the country, India being one of those. South Africa could play as many as 13 Tests at home in this cycle, a number similar to the overall number of Tests they have played previously. The 2015-16 season also has a big incoming tour by England, with four Tests minimum expected to be played. South Africa won’t be hosting any ICC events in the next cycle, but as long as the big teams keep coming, so will the revenue.

The divide of fund will change

Helping the smaller unions (as in those who are not franchises) grow is an important part in helping cricket prosper in the country. As it stands, South Africa’s smaller venues have little international cricket scheduled for the summer.

The West Indies are the only team to tour this year and Paarl, Bloemfontein and Kimberley will miss out on the action. Port Elizabeth and East London all have international cricket scheduled for the summer, but the inland teams look set to feel the pinch. These smaller unions are central to cricket’s development and serve a far bigger purpose than simply making up the numbers. CSA insist that they are keeping all of this in mind and that “funds are now allocated exactly according to activity, whereas in the past we used to just divide up the cake.” Time will tell how this impacts the functionality of these unions, but at least for now it doesn’t appear to be all doom and gloom. DM

Photo: South Africa’s captain AB de Villiers (C) celebrates with teammates Hashim Amla (R) and David Miller (L) after taking the catch to dismiss Sri Lanka’s Kusal Perera (not pictured) during their final One Day International cricket match in Hambantota July 12, 2014. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

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