ZIMBABWE CRICKET (ZC)’s financial quagmire, that saw the cancellation of the Sri Lanka tour and disruption to the domestic league, has been linked to a $15 million loan from MetBank that is yet to be honoured.
While January 18 has been set for the resumption of the domestic league, that is now highly unlikely as ZC may not secure sponsorship, which will further scuttle Zimbabwe’s preparations for the World Cup Twenty 20 (T20) competition.
Last month, ZC said it was unable to provide guarantees of when they would pay striking players and the latest report from the bank reveals the depth to which cricket, once an envy of many, has sunk in recent years.
An official Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe document seen by this paper reveals that ZC owes MetBank $15 million.
“Medium-term strategies previously advised, including debt restructuring and loan syndications on large exposures such as the Zimbabwe Cricket ($15 million), Zinara corporate finance deal and a Nampower $50 million transaction are yet to be consummated,” part of the document reads.
The report adds: “The gaps are mainly a manifestation of nonperforming loans amounting to $29,43 million as at 30 September 2013.”
In August last year, Zimbabwe cricketers had formed a union to participate in salary negotiations prior to the series against Pakistan.
ESPNCricinfo understands ZC has asked the International Cricket Council for an additional loan of $3 million, but it is said the international body may only agree to that if ZC provided an audit of the funds they received from the Targeted Assistance and Performance Programme earlier last year.
Former ZC managing director Ozias Bvute is a non-executive director at Metbank while the chairman is Wilson Manase.
ZC chairman is Peter Chingoka, who has been at the helm since shortly after Zimbabwe gained Test status in 1992 and is deputised by Manase after the last board elections conducted in 2011.
Bvute is now chairman of the Air Zimbabwe board. Chingoka is a non-executive director at Metbank, according to the company website.
A tri-series involving Australia and South Africa is being mooted, which could be a major source of revenue for ZC this year in addition to about $25 million for the 2015 World Cup.
Former Sports minister David Coltart told Cricinfo last August: “The association now is very much in the red. We estimate anything between $15-18 million in the red. That situation has been compounded by the fact that there have been very few international tours, very few profitable tours, which undermines the ability of ZC to address that massive debt. And that, in turn, has meant that players have not been paid on time.
“I had a meeting with (ICC chief executive officer) Dave Richardson in Dubai in March and he told me that ZC, over the next couple of years, can expect revenues of up to $25 million.
“Zimbabwe cricket does not have the infrastructure that, for example, we see in New Zealand and $25 million, properly administered, should be enough to grow the game and pay players.”