Captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were banned for 12 months for their roles in the scandal
Sponsor deserts Cricket Australia over ball tampering
Magellan Financial Group said on Thursday it had terminated a partnership with Cricket Australia (CA) as the naming rights sponsor of Australia’s men’s domestic Test series, citing a recent ball-tampering scandal.
Australia captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were both banned for 12 months for their roles in the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town, Cricket Australia said. Opening batsman Cameron Bancroft was banned for nine months.
“Regrettably, these recent events are so inconsistent with our values that we are left with no option but to terminate our ongoing partnership with Cricket Australia,” Magellan chief executive Hamish Douglass said.
Other key sponsors have voiced “deep concern” over a cheating scandal that has rocked the sport and damaged its reputation.
The crisis couldn’t have come at a worse time for the governing body, which is renegotiating a lucrative TV deal, with the existing Aus$600 million five-year agreement expiring at the end of the year.
There are concerns that broadcasters could use the controversy as a bargaining chip.
Sponsors of the team made clear this week that they were not happy, amid fears of the fallout on their brands.
“This is deeply disappointing and certainly not what anyone expects from our national cricket team,” airline Qantas, whose logo is on the team shirts in South Africa, said.
“We are in discussions with Cricket Australia as this issue unfolds.”
Financial giant Commonwealth Bank, which sponsors the national women’s team, said it wanted a full explanation.
“We are disappointed about the events that have emerged from the third Test in South Africa and have asked for a full explanation from Cricket Australia following the conclusion of its investigation into this affair,” it announced.
The crisis was sparked when television footage showed Mr Bancroft taking a yellow object out of his pocket while fielding in the post-lunch session on Saturday and appearing to rub it on the ball.
He was punished by the ICC with three demerit points, fined 75 percent of his match fee and warned for his part in the scandal.
Jaimie Fuller, executive chairman of the Skins compression wear group of companies, said CA’s reputation was on the line in how it responds.
In a full-page advert in Australian newspapers earlier this week, he pointed out that cricket was more than just a game in Australia, with the captaincy of the national team considered second only to the prime minister in bragging rights.
“Cricket is such a part of our national psyche that it helps define us,” he said. “It helps give us a sense of what is fair, and what is not; what is right and what is wrong.
“Even though you are presiding over the sport, it doesn’t belong to you,” he added of CA. “You are the custodians of it. And now you must get your job right.”