SYDNEY: Australia’s Magellan Financial Group Ltd cancelled a naming rights sponsorship deal with Cricket Australia after it banned players involved in a ball-tampering scandal, the biggest blow to the country’s governing body reeling from the incident.
Though some sponsors of Australian cricketers have pulled individual sponsorship deals, the decision by Magellan suggests the financial impact of the episode will go to the core of Australia
s favourite sport.s Test Cricket Team which broke the rules with a clear intention to gain an unfair advantage during the third Test in South Africa goes to the heart of integrity,” Magellan CEO Hamish Douglass said in the statement.
Cricket Australia slapped captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner with 12-month bans from international and domestic cricket for their role in a scandal that has rocked the sport.
Cameron Bancroft, who was caught on camera attempting to scuff up the ball with improvised sandpaper during a Test against South Africa in Cape Town, was banned for nine months. All three were sent home from South Africa.
In a statement on Thursday, Magellan said it was ending its contract with Cricket Australia a year into a three-year deal which was based on shared values of "integrity, leadership, dedication and an unwavering customer-first culture".
"A conspiracy by the leadership of the Australian Men
“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.”
Australian media have reported that the Magellan sponsorship was worth A$17-20 million.
Sports apparel maker ASICS Corp <7936.T> meanwhile cancelled sponsorship deals with vice-captain Warner and Bancroft, effective immediately, because of the incident.
“The decisions and actions taken by David Warner and Cameron Bancroft are not something that ASICS tolerates and are contrary to the values the company stands for,” the ASICS statement said.
For Warner, ASICS was the second sponsor in two days to abandon him. Electronics maker LG <066570.KS> had already said it would not be giving the 31-year-old a new sponsorship deal.
Several of Cricket Australia
s major sponsors, including cereal maker Sanitarium, have said they would await the results of a full investigation into the scandal before deciding on the future of their deals with the governing body.s decision to initiate an independent review into the conduct and culture of the Australian men’s teams”.
Sanitarium was not immediately available for comment on Thursday.
Other Cricket Australia sponsors stood by the organisation, saying they were satisfied with its handling of the matter.
A spokesman for Yum! Brands Inc , owner of fast food chain KFC, a Cricket Australia sponsor, told Reuters in an email it was "pleased that Cricket Australia has dealt with this incident swiftly for the benefit of the game and its fans" without commenting further.
A spokesperson for Toyota Corp <7203.T> said the carmaker supported "Cricket Australia
Most football associations support 48-team WC in Qatar:FIFA
London: FIFA President Gianni Infantino has said, “Most soccer associations in the world back increasing the size of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to 48 teams from 32, with some matches to be played in neighbouring countries.”
Infantino told in a news conference that the Qataris were open to the larger format.
“FIFA would make a decision no later than June, once a feasibility study is over,” he added.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt launched a diplomatic and trade boycott of Qatar in June 2017 that has complicated the prospect of sharing the tournament.
The countries accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism, which it denies.
Speaking on it, Infantino said, “We are doing football not politics.”
FIFA voted in 2017 to increase the size of the tournament to 48 teams starting from 2026 but, since then, Infantino has been considering the possibility of bringing the change forward to 2022.
“Most football associations across the globe hope for opening up the World Cup to more teams,” he said, lamenting that continental champions such as Cameroon, Chile and the United States were absent from last year’s World Cup after failing to qualify.
“If it is possible to organise a 48-team World Cup in Qatar with some games in neighbouring countries, that will be great,” he further said.
Infantino also quoted that it was “premature” to speak of a planned joint bid from Spain, Portugal and Morocco for the 2030 World Cup, which would be the first time countries from different continents had applied to stage the tournament.
“I welcome all bids. The more the better,” he said.
Infantino was speaking following a FIFA executive summit in Marrakech which brought together some 60 football associations.
Ready to bat anywhere:Dhoni
Mumbai: Wicket-keeper batsman MS Dhoni, expressed his willingness to bat at any position in the Indian batting order, following a match-winning knock in the series-decider against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
The veteran, who was named as the man of the series following consistent performances in the ODI clashes, stepped up with a quality knock yet again following an early dismissal for the openers and skipper Virat Kohli.
The 37-year-old cricketer scored 87 runs in 114 deliveries, stitching an unbeaten 121 run stand off 115 balls with Kedar Jadhav, as India chased down a target of 231 with four balls to spare.
“I am happy to bat at any number. The important thing is where the team needs me,” said Dhoni.
“Whether I play at 4 or 6, we need to see if the team balance can be retained. I’m happy to bat lower down at 6. I can’t say I can’t bat at No. 6 after playing 14 years,” he added.
The cricketer was full of praise for Kedar Jadhav, who he credited for providing valuable support at the other end, on a slow wicket.
“It was a slow wicket, so it was difficult to hit whenever you wanted to. No point going after the bowlers who were bowling well, so we wanted to take it deep and that was the plan,” said Dhoni.
“Of course supported brilliantly by Kedar, who plays unorthodox shots. He did a great job in executing,” concluded the cricketer.
Pakistan seek first win on SA tour as ODI battle begins
PORT ELIZABETH: Pakistan will be looking to chalk up the first win of their South African tour when they face the Proteas in the first of five One-day Internationals in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Sarfraz Ahmed’s team, swept 3-0 in the preceding Test series, enjoy playing at St George’s Park, winning two of their three ODIs at the venue, with the other washed out.
Pakistan beat South Africa by 182 runs in 2002 when Abdul Razzaq and Saleem Elahi hit hundreds, and then by one run in 2013 in a game reduced to 45-overs-a-side due to rain.
South Africa hold an edge over Pakistan in ODIs as far as their head-to-head record is concerned.
So far, the Proteas have faced Pakistan in 73 ODIs, winning 47, losing 25 while one match ended in no result. Pakistan do not hold an impressive record (matches 29, wins 10, losses 18, one no result) in their matches staged against South Africa at the latter’s home venues).
Interestingly however, Pakistan on their last tour to the African country in 2013 when Misbah-ul-Haq the led tourists, clinched the three-match ODI series 2-1, the country’s maiden ODI series triumph on South African soil.
The tourists currently playing in South Africa have been dealt a boost with the news that Dale Steyn and Quinton de Kock have been rested for the first two ODIs in the series — Saturday’s fixture and Tuesday’s match in Durban.
However, they will have to contend with fast bowler Duanne Olivier, who bagged 24 wickets at 14.70 during South Africa’s win in the Test series and now looks nailed to make his ODI debut.
Rassie van der Dussen should also make his ODI bow having finished as top-run scorer in the recently-concluded Mzansi Super League, South Africa’s new T20 competition.
The 28-year-old hit 469 runs in 11 innings, including four fifties, for champions Jozi Stars and should join Heinrich Klaasen — De Kock’s deputy as wicketkeeper-batsman — in South Africa’s middle order.
Left-handed Shan Masood could open the batting for Pakistan having impressed in the Tests while pacer Mohammad Amir is back in the visitors’ ODI squad for the first time since the Asia Cup staged in the UAE last September.