THE INTERNATIONAL Cricket Council (ICC) have come to the rescue of the financially beleaguered Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) after approving a loan believed to be in the range of $3 million, Parliament heard yesterday.
The disclosures were made by ZC chairman Peter Chingoka when he appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio committee on Sport chaired by Hurungwe West MP Themba Mliswa.
The committee grilled Chingoka and his team over a number of issues including the recent player strike which ended this week, the racial imbalances in the national team and the total amount they owe their stakeholders.
ZC’s debt is believed to be hovering above $20 million, including $15 million owed to a local bank. Chingoka said their budget for this season stands at $20 million.
The financial problems have resulted in a player strike while planned tours by Sri Lanka and Afghanistan could not materialise and a proposed one-off Test against South Africa also failed to take off.
During his presentation, Chingoka said as a desperate measure, they had applied for a loan from the ICC to pay off the players’ outstanding fees.
He said the loan has been approved and they should receive the money next week.
“The players (centrally contracted) are owed $320 000 in match fees from the matches against India and Pakistan last year, but we should be able to pay them by next week,” he said.
Chingoka told the parliamentarians that the current financial problems stemmed from their match against India where the TV rights for the series were cut, leaving the ZC with a $1,5 million deficit. Another issue that topped the discussion which lasted for over two hours was the “racial imbalance in the national team.”
Mliswa queried why ZC continue to appoint white coaches for the national team, which he said is “against the government’s policy of empowering blacks.”
He also asked why the national team is still captained by a white player “34 years after independence.”
Mliswa also asked for an explanation on why white players continue to dominate the national squad.