FORMER Cricket Australia bigwig BEN AMARFIO has broken his silence on his sudden termination from the embattled governing body, while batting away rumours about those hot breakfasts.
He became known as Ben “Hot Breakfast” Amarfio after a story about the Cricket Australia executive ordering his secretary to whip up bacon and eggs for him took on a life of its own.
These early-morning demands got another run around last month when Amarfio (right) was sacked by CA after six years as its general manager of broadcasting, digital media and commercial.
Now, for the first time, one of cricket’s most polarising execs has explained his version of the most talked-about breakfast in sport. Amarfio, in a barrage of DENNIS
LILLEE- like bouncers, claims he never demanded his personal assistant cook him any meals. Amarfio says he was the one who would bring home-cooked treats into the office for her. “Every week for about four years,” he says.
On her being forced to slave over a hot stove, Amarfio was adamant: “No, never, we don’t even have a stove at CA.”
He did admit she grabbed food for him but “only sporadically during heavy workload periods”.
So, how did the hot breakfast story become hot gossip?
Amarfio blamed a disgruntled former employee for starting what he describes as “mischievous and nasty scuttlebutt”.
“Surprisingly, not until the last month has any journo called either myself or BELINDA (Amarfio’s EA), for verification of the story,” he says.
His exit from CA’s headquarters has also been misrepresented according to Amarfio.
He says he wasn’t escorted from the building by the head of security,
SEAN CARROLL, a former Victoria police detective who oversees CA’s anti-corruption program.
“I was not marched or escorted from the building. I asked Sean to buzz me into the carpark,” he says. “To do so, we walked down the stairs together to the carpark exit door. We chatted and hugged when I left.”
Amarfio is still upset about being denied the opportunity to address
his 70 staff about his dismissal by CA’s new head of People & Culture RAJ TAPPER.
“I was asked by the new head of HR to leave immediately and she told me that advising my staff of the reason for my termination was ‘the CEO’s news to tell,’ not mine.
When asked how staff reacted to his sacking Amarfio says: “I believe my staff were very shocked and disappointed about my departure.”
Asked why he was terminated, Amarfio said new CEO KEVIN
ROBERTS had advised him that he wanted “deeper relationships with our broadcasters and sponsors”. This was despite Amarfio landing
Cricket Australia a record $1.2 billion broadcast rights deal.
“Based on irrefutable factual evidence, I didn’t agree with the reason given for the termination of my employment, but that’s a CEO’s prerogative,” Amarfio says.
He also dismissed the notion that his name had appeared in the controversial cultural review of CA following the South Africa balltampering scandal.
“I wasn’t named in any of the 145 pages, including the redactions, of the cultural review,” he says.
As for the cultural problems at cricket HQ, Amarfio says that has been “grossly overstated”.
“I was not marched or escorted from the building”
“Based on irrefutable factual evidence, I didn’t agree with the reason given for the termination of my employment”
“(Cricket Australia’s culture problems have been) grossly overstated”