SA Cricketers Association calls for players to be compensated after T20GL stalls
The inaugural T20 Global League (T20GL) is dead in the water‚ Cricket South Africa (CSA) confirmed on Tuesday.
But that means the country’s major cricket ovals could be deserted for the first half of the summer.
And an important stakeholder‚ the South African Cricketers’ Association (Saca)‚ have called for players to be compensated and for the saga to be investigated.
Kevin Pietersen‚ who was to have been the Nelson Mandela Bay Stars’ marquee player‚ labelled the move a “disaster for SA sport” on social media.
CSA’s board held an emergency teleconference on Tuesday where they took the decision to put the tournament‚ which was scheduled to have started on November 3‚ on ice for a year.
On Friday CSA’s acting chief executive‚ Thabang Moroe‚ said the T20GL was set to lose US$25-million — more than half the board’s cash reserves.
Even so‚ he promised‚ “We will start (the T20GL) on November 3.”
But‚ in a release on Tuesday‚ Moroe was quoted as saying: “Having discussed it with all our stakeholders including the franchise owners‚ we believe that the interest of the league should be our first priority.
“We have reassessed our strategy and believe that postponing the first edition of the T20GL to next year will serve us well. We will regroup and come back stronger and better.”
Moroe‚ who is also CSA’s vice-president‚ was installed after chief executive Haroon Lorgat and the association parted ways on September 28.
CSA have denied that Lorgat’s handling of the establishment of the T20GL was the sole reason for parting ways with him‚ but the fact that neither a broadcast deal nor sponsors were announced would have further damaged his relationship with the board.
A T20 tournament of the kind that has swept the game since the Indian Premier League was first played in 2008 would not exist without a broadcaster and sponsors.
Matters have come to a head in recent days‚ with franchise owners unconvinced at CSA’s ability to put the tournament together in a few weeks without those key elements.
“Having discussed it with Mr. Moroe and (CSA president) Mr. (Chris) Nenzani‚ we have arrived at a unanimous decision to defer the inaugural edition to next year‚” the release quoted a minority owner of the Pretoria Mavericks‚ Osman Osman‚ as saying. “We believe it is in the best interest of the tournament to do so.”
Lorgat’s CSA departure is central to the calamity. At least some of three Indian owners among the eight franchises are known to have been disturbed by the way he went about his business regarding the T20GL.
High among their concerns was what was considered a worrying secrecy‚ which extended to CSA chief financial officer Naasei Appiah being excluded from important negotiations.
But Lorgat‚ a former International Cricket Council chief executive‚ was the only current CSA administrator the owners saw as capable of pulling off a tournament of the magnitude he promised.
Now that Lorgat has gone the event has gone with him — at least for a year‚ which should be enough time for a new CSA chief executive to be appointed and settle in.
The T20GL’s postponement will embarrass CSA‚ but they will also be relieved that they can stop hurtling towards a tournament that was likely to have fallen far short of what was advertised.
For CSA’s next trick they will need to find a way to plug the gaping hole in their calendar.
November 3 to December 16‚ the scheduled date for the T20GL final‚ is prime time for cricket.
And everybody from broadcaster SuperSport to South Africa’s stadium managers to the country’s cricket-minded public are going to demand content.
CSA could also find themselves fighting on another front‚ what with the players’ union up in arms at the postponement.
“At this stage we’re unsure of exactly what a postponement means other than the fact that it’s clear the league will not take place this year‚” SACA chief executive Tony Irish was quoted as saying in a release.
“We will be seeking clarity from CSA on the further implications.
“This has a very significant impact on a large number of local and overseas players‚ all of whom have signed contracts to play in the league.
"Some players turned down other opportunities in order to commit themselves to these contracts.
"We will be looking at all implications of this for players‚ including what compensation should be paid to them.
“I think it will be necessary for CSA to appoint its own independent review into what has actually transpired here as there are significant implications across South African cricket.”