The Herald

Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
THE International Cricket Council have built a wall of protection around Zimbabwe Cricket with a declaration that they fully support those in charge of the domestic game despite the challenges from several fronts calling for them to step down.

The world cricket governing body, say they don’t see the need for any intervention in the affairs of Zimbabwe Cricket and, instead, they are going to empower those in charge of the domestic game to ensure they revive a sport that has massive potential.

The ICC say the Government, or any other parties, have no obligation to intervene in the affairs of Zimbabwe Cricket because the issues which are weighing down the sport right can be resolved through a master-plan they have structured.

Any such intervention, say the ICC, would result in them reviewing the membership of Zimbabwe Cricket in October.

The ZC leaders have come under significant pressure from many quarters, in recent weeks, with various parties calling for them to step down because they hold them responsible for Zimbabwe’s doomed campaign for a place at the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

They also blame them for the chaos which hit the Chevrons in the wake of the decision to fire coach Heath Streak, who remains popular in a lot of circles in domestic cricket, in the wake of the country’s failed World Cup campaign when the national team self-destructed in spectacular fashion by losing their final qualifier against the United Arab Emirates.

The Sports Commission have already started an inquiry into ZC and this week their team met the organisation’s chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani while they have also opened lines for a number of other stakeholders in the game to present them with their input.

However, the ICC, who confirmed that Zimbabwe’s membership was under threat when the world cricket governing body met in Dublin, Ireland, last month, before a deal was struck for the country to retain its full membership and receive both financial and technical support from the ICC, have said they don’t believe there is need for any intervention right now.

The case is a replica of the one in which FIFA also came in support of the ZIFA leadership, who have faced significant challenges from many parties in recent months, including some who have been questioning if they still have a mandate to continue running domestic football.

The Herald has exclusively obtained a letter which the ICC pronounced their position, in which they built a wall of protection around ZC and their leaders, which was written by the world cricket governing body’s chief executive David Richardson.

The letter was directed to Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister, Kazembe Kazembe, and was in response to one which the Government had asked if it could then be allowed to intervene in affairs of domestic cricket if it was being asked to provide certain guarantees to the debt which had been weighing down Zimbabwe Cricket.

“We thank you for your letter dated 25 June 2018 addressed to ICC Chairman, Mr Shashank Manohar, on the above subject (Government of Zimbabwe guarantee of a haircut on the USD14.3 million Zimbabwe Cricket debt),’’ Richardson wrote in his letter.

“In relation to the same matter, the ICC also recently received a copy of a letter dated 29 June 2018 from ZAMCO addressed to Mr Mukuhlani (the chairman of ZC) confirming that ZAMCO was prepared to offer a discount of 30% on the principal sum owed to it by ZC.

“As you would expect, the subject of ZC’s membership of the ICC (and the content of both letters) was considered during the recent set of ICC Board meetings. The ICC is fully committed to the task of enabling ZC to restructure its financial, cricketing and management affairs so that the sport can flourish once again in Zimbabwe.

“To this end, I have been asked by the ICC Chairman to provide you with an update on the following positive and decisive steps by the ICC Board in respect of ZC’s membership of the ICC:

The Board noted the formal conformation from ZAMCO that the 30% discount would be applied to the principal sums owed to it by ZC.

The Board was also reminded that ZAMCO had also earlier agreed to a back-ended bullet repayment schedule and a discounted rate of interest to be applied to the principal sum, both of which were reflected in earlier correspondence.

On the basis of the above proposal from ZAMCO, the Board agreed to withhold a portion of ZC’s anticipated distributions of surplus for the remaining portion of this rights cycle (i.e. until 2023) which would ultimately be used to cover the ZAMCO debt (as well as another debt owed by ZC to the ICC) plus the appropriate levels of interest.

The ICC management will work together with ZC in order to put together a detailed plan for how ZC ought to best manage its cricketing, management and financial structures moving forward, with such a plan to be considered by the ICC Board at its meeting in October.

ZC will continue as a Full member (and entitled to the balance of surplus otherwise due to it) subject to the following:

(i) ZC’s ongoing compliance with the agreed operational plan

(ii) ZC’s prompt submission to the ICC of the most recent set of audited accounts

(iii) Payments to ZC being made on a six monthly and “controlled funding” basis (i.e. with a process in place that enables the ICC to oversee and approve all payments made by ZC)

The above is without prejudice to the ICC’s ability to take further action against ZC where it considers necessary and/or to address new issues that may arise in respect of ZC’s continuing membership of the ICC.

“This package of measures will assist ZC to secure the ZAMCO debt and continue to secure ICC funding to fulfil its obligations to support, develop and grow the game of cricket in Zimbabwe, the latent potential of which was clearly visible for the world to see at the recent ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe.

“These steps and measures are being immediately implemented in concert with all relevant stakeholders although we do not believe that they require any further government intervention.’’