Cricket sponsors threaten to pull out

Itai Dzamara

THE crisis in local cricket could deepen after revelations that three of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU)’s major sponsors are unhappy with the current squabbles. They have reportedly threatened

to pull out if there is no solution by the end of this week.


IndependentSport has confirmed that three members of the corporate world with a strong relationship with the ZCU spanning over three years last week threatened to pull out if the impasse is not addressed by the end of this week.

On the other hand, contrary to reports suggesting that the ZCU had reached a settlement with the 15 rebel players following a statement by the union on Wednesday, the players yesterday submitted conditions under which they would resume training.

Officials at the three sponsors that issued the ultimatum confirmed the threat to stop sponsoring cricket.

“We still believe the relationship with the ZCU can be maintained, so we are not going public yet about our ultimatum,” said an official at one of the sponsors. “We have made it clear that the current situation is not good and we wouldn’t want our names to be associated with such chaos.”

ZCU chairman Peter Chingoka on Wednesday refused to discuss the matter regarding the sponsors’ ultimatum.

“I can’t speak for the companies that have threatened to pull out. You need to speak to the sponsors,” said Chingoka.

The ZCU’s major sponsors are Nissan, Zimsun Leisure Group, Bata, and Old Mutual. They have formed the backbone of ZCU since Zimbabwe attained Test Status 11 years ago.

Former captain Heath Streak was dismissed three weeks ago after he had castigated the selection panel and the quota system.

The 15 senior players who suported Streak’s position stopped training and were left out of the team for the ongoing Sri Lanka tour. By late yesterday representatives of the rebel players were saying they had not yet reached an agreement with the ZCU.

A makeshift squad of green horns was picked for the ongoing Sri Lanka tour and the results have so far been a huge national embarrassment. Sri Lanka leads the series 4-0.

“No one wants to be associated with such results and the longer this continues, the sooner we are likely to take action to cut our losses and save our reputations,” said an official from one of the ZCU’s major sponsors.