Lifeline for Zim Cricket – The Standard



International Cricket Council (ICC) President David Richardson says Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) is in a "survival mode" after the country was barely avoided due to suspension by the cricket governing body due to its financial problems.

BY DANIEL NHAKANISO

Zimbabwe Cricket President Tavengwa Mukuhlani (right) and ICC CEO David Richardson have addressed a press conference in Harare yesterday

Richardson, who arrived in the country last week, accompanied by ICC chief financial officer Ankur Khannadeal, held meetings with ZC officials under the leadership of CEO Tavengwa Mukuhlani, agreeing a strategic business, financial and cricket plan to revitalize the domestic game.

A plan of action to ensure that ZC receives funding through a more regulated process to ensure that it can fulfill its obligations is expected to be presented to the ICC board at the meeting next month.

"The meetings were extremely valuable, and I think we have made a lot of progress in putting together this plan, which we will present to our board in October, and hopefully they will see that the cricket of Zimbabwe is viable," Richardson said yesterday during a meeting. press conference in Harare.

Given the financial difficulties faced by the Mukuhlani-led organ, as well as a debt of about $ 20 million, the ICC has instructed ZC to lower its payslip alongside other measures to help Zimbabwe solve its problems.

"What matters is that you can only spend as much money as you come in. At the moment, the income generated by Zimbabwe Cricket is almost entirely dependent on ICC revenue," says Richardson.

"So we must not only ensure that we save costs, we also need to look at ways to generate new revenue for the game.

"This comes with more confidence in Zimbabwe Cricket, you can not expect to sign sponsors if they do not have confidence in what is happening on the ground."

Richardson also warned that the agreed plan, which will be submitted to the ICC Board, is not the panacea for the problems that are the second-largest sport in the country, because there was still a lot of work to do restore old glory.

"I want to emphasize that this is not a meeting where we have solved all the problems and all of a sudden we can leave and everything is smoldering No, it's going to cost a lot of work, it's going to work with the whole cricket community in Zimbabwe," he said.

"The meetings were very frank and very useful, but I emphasize again, it is just the beginning, we still have a long way to go." We used the words "Zimbabwe cricket is in survival mode."

"For the next two years, we plan to have a list of activities, not even a strategy, but a list of activities that we need to do and we will check them off one by one, but by the end, I'm sure convinced that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that Zimbabwe Cricket will hopefully be something that Zimbabwean can be proud of. "

Richardson revealed that Zimbabwe came very early with a letter of suspension at the ICC conference in Dublin, Ireland, early this year, which would have led to a significant reduction in ICC funding for this cycle from $ 73 million to about $ 8 million. .

ZC, in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Asset Management Corporation, has been able to renegotiate its debt, which reportedly amounted to 20 million dollars.

"There are many Member States that are looking for more money from the ICC to make their cricket sustainable," Richardson said.

"They constantly watch how Zimbabwe got so much, while that is not the case, so there is pressure on the members to keep themselves going and not to put a damper on the ICC distributions."

Richardson said the ICC was concerned about the fact that funding provided to ZC is constantly being taxed by the inheritance debt, leaving the domestic game without the financial lifeline it requires.

"So when we came to a situation where Zimbabwe was, it did not perform very well, it was due to the banks to a large extent, their debts were huge," he said.

"There were murmurs that hold fast, Zimbabwe has received considerable benefits in the past, what did they do with it?

"It reached a stage where we simply could not see the light at the end of the tunnel, but more money is going to Zimbabwe, but what happens (because) they do not seem to be right?

"As I said, the turning point was that [ICC World Cup] qualification match in Zimbabwe where people around the world were reminded that cricket was a big sport in Zimbabwe.
"There is light at the end of the tunnel and it is worth the investment and that effort to get it right, but it was very close."

Meanwhile Mukuhlani said that after his election as Zanu PF MP for Mhondoro-Ngezi he would not resign from his position at ZC.

A call has been made to the Bulawayo-based pharmacist to leave his position to prevent conflicts of interest.

"Very much, I will remain the President of Zimbabwe Cricket," Mukuhlani said.

"ZC is not a parastatal, it is a hobby and it is a sport, it is a passion and there is no conflict of interest, I will continue in my role, in fact our patron is the first politician in this country," he said.


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