Global T20 staff in dark
Ortus Sport wants R15m severance pay while the people it hired rely on unofficial sources for news, say insiders
T20 Global League (T20GL) has yet to properly inform staff who claim to have been recruited for the event that the tournament has been postponed‚ TimesLIVE has learnt.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) said on October 10 that the event‚ which was to have started on November 3‚ had been put on hold for a year.
CSA claim the T20GL will run at a loss of US$25-million or more than half the board’s current cash reserves.
But insiders say personnel experienced in running T20 tournaments in other countries‚ and who claim to have been appointed for the T20GL‚ have had to glean information about their fate from unofficial sources.
If they want compensation they will have to get in the queue with the players and coaches who were to have been involved in the competition and are now considering legal action.
The staff claim they were verbally hired by Ortus Sport and Entertainment‚ the company that was hawking the T20GL rights on CSA’s behalf.
CSA are said to be in the process of negotiating a settlement to severe ties with Ortus and sources say the company’s founder‚ Venu Nair‚ is demanding R15-million to shut up and go away.
But while Nair is allegedly talking his way into a fat payment the people who claim his company have appointed them, seem to have lost their jobs through no fault of their own and have not been told why.
T20 franchises and venues are typically staffed by small armies of functionaries who tend to work far longer hours than players or coaches‚ and for exponentially less money.
For instance‚ Royal Challengers Bangalore turned up in South Africa for the inaugural edition of the now defunct Champions League T20 sporting — according to the backs of their official shirts — a “chief podcaster” and a “chief blogger”.
But at least one tournament logistics expert smelt a rat when the T20GL‚ or Ortus‚ came calling.
“I had a feeling that this was going to happen based purely on gut‚” said the source who did not want to be named.
“When I was asked if I was keen to get involved I turned them down.”
He might have been spooked by the alarm bells rung by the fact that Nair registered Ortus as recently as April having had knowledge of the T20GL‚ and that Nair had what could be seen as an unhealthily close relationship with former CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat.
CSA said on September 28 that Lorgat’s contract‚ which was to have run until 2019‚ had been terminated with immediate effect.
Legal representatives of Ortus and Nair have since contested these allegations. Ortus and Nair however declined to comment on the allegations, citing confidentiality provisions in its commercial relationship with CSA.
* This article was initially published without comment having been sought from Ortus and Mr Nair. We apologise for that omission. The article has subsequently been amended.