Big domino falls in Warner empire
STEVE Smith and David Warner's reputations are in tatters, but the damage isn't ending there.
The captain and vice-captain of Australia's cricket team have been sent home, along with Cameron Bancroft, after conspiring to tamper with the ball during the third Test in Cape Town. Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said further "significant sanctions" would be handed down to the trio within the next 24 hours.
For all the damage done to the individuals and Australian cricket as a whole, the guilty parties also run the risk of being hit hard in the hip pocket as celebrity agent Max Markson warned players will "lose every single one" of their contracts.
Key sponsors of Smith and Warner have released statements in recent days suggesting they will re-evaluate their relationships in the wake of an investigation into what went on in Cape Town, while lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) deals are also in danger.
Electronics company LG sponsored Warner and said it was keeping on eye on developments involving the embattled opener.
On Wednesday the electronics giant revealed it has cut ties with the 31-year-old.
An LG spokeswoman said its current deal with the opening batsman was in its final weeks.
"In light of recent events, we have decided not to renew our partnership," a spokeswoman said.
"LG Australia will always look to work with ambassadors that share our core brand values and we take these relationships incredibly seriously to ensure we put our customers, employees and stakeholders first."
Warner, who signed with the company in late 2014, was so effusive in his praise for the company's OLED TVs in advertisements, the commercials were quickly parodied by fans.
"I love my OLED. It's one of the things I look forward to when I come home," Warner said in one ad.
"I wish it was compact enough that I could put it in my suitcase and take it away."
Warner's website states he is a brand ambassador of Gray-Nicolls, Asics, Channel Nine, Toyota and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Sanitarium this week removed all material related to sacked Australian skipper Steve Smith from the website of its breakfast cereal Weet-Bix.
Milo also ended its partnership with Warner several months ago, but said its decision to move in a "different direction" was "not a reflection on David Warner or Cricket Australia".
As the heat intensifies on Warner, with reports suggesting he was the ringleader who cajoled Smith into ball tampering, the risk of both players missing out on the riches of the IPL becomes greater.
Both are on deals worth $2.4 million - Smith with the Rajasthan Royals and Warner with Sunrisers Hyderabad. Smith has already stepped down as captain of the Royals while Warner may yet be forced to do the same at Hyderabad.
Cricket Australia needs to give the players a "no objection" certificate to play in the IPL but without that, the IPL franchises will have grounds to argue they don't need to fork out their millions to the Aussie stars.
"The incident in Cape Town has certainly disturbed the cricket world. We have been in constant touch with the (Board of Control for Cricket in India) and taken their counsel," Royals head of cricket Zubin Bharucha said.
"Furthermore we have been in regular contact with Steve.
"(Smith believes) it's in the best interest of the Rajasthan Royals that he steps down as captain so the team can get ready for the start of the IPL without the ongoing distractions."
According to The Australian, Warner has built a property portfolio worth $10 million, and quotes him as saying in an interview two years ago: "My financial adviser told me: 'If you have to work after cricket, I haven't done my job properly'."
Warner's earnings from Cricket Australia - from his base salary and bonuses - totalled approximately $2 million a year in recent years, according to The Australian.
But if, hypothetically, he's slapped with a year-long suspension, the publication claims his bank balance will suffer to the tune of more than $400,000 in missed match payments across all three forms of the game.
When it comes to Smith, the 28-year-old is no longer visible on the website of breakfast cereal Weet-Bix as the brand's owner considers the future of its partnership with him.
Smith was featured on the cereal's home page until recently and now Weet-Bix owner Sanitarium - a wholly owned subsidiary of the Seventh-day Adventist Church - says it is awaiting the results of the investigation by Cricket Australia.
"We are interested in the detail of their investigation and the actions Cricket Australia will take on this matter," Sanitarium, which counts Smith as a brand ambassador, said in a statement on Tuesday.
"Certainly (our relationship with Smith) is under review as the actions taken by the team in South Africa don't align with our values.
"Like the rest of Australia, we have been incredibly disappointed by the actions taken by the team over the weekend in South Africa."
Smith is also a Commonwealth Bank ambassador, and the company said it is "disappointed" in what has transpired.
Other major sponsors of Australian cricket, including Qantas, have voiced their disappointment in the national team following the scandal.
"We are very disappointed. Australia is all about 'fair go', and I think all Australians are very disappointed with what's happened with the cricket team," Qantas boss Alan Joyce said.
"We've let them know that we want them (the authorities) to urgently complete the investigation and take the appropriate action."
- with AAP