Cricket SA officials‚ staff on collision course over T20 Global League plans
Like trains entering the same tunnel from opposite ends‚ cricket’s amateur and professional administrators seem to be on a collision course.
That tunnel is the future shape of South Africa’s premier T20 competition.
Cricket SA’s professional arm‚ formed of employees tasked with running the game as a business‚ and the organisation’s Members Council‚ its highest authority and comprised of elected officials‚ differ on fundamental aspects of the tournament.
The professional arm is headed by acting chief executive Thabang Moroe and chief financial officer Naasei Appiah‚ who have formed a close alliance.
The Members Council is made up of the presidents of the 12 provincial affiliates as well as CSA’s president and vice-president.
It can only be a complicating factor that Moroe is also CSA’s vice-president‚ even though he and CSA president Chris Nenzani don’t vote on Members Council matters.
The Council met in Durban last weekend to consider a proposal for a T20 tournament that was prepared by the professional arm.
The document‚ which TimesLIVE has examined‚ calls for eight franchises that would be owned by CSA‚ be subject to transformation rules — five black players in the XI‚ two of them black Africans — and limited to three foreign players per roster and two per team.
The tournament would‚ the plan says‚ cost R180 million for three years and then make money.
The Durban deal features significant departures from the original blueprint for the event that was meant to catapult CSA into the international T20 circus last year — the failure of which has led to much of the above.
The T20 Global League (T20GL)‚ in which the franchises are privately owned‚ not beholden to transformation and strewn with foreign players‚ stalled weeks before its scheduled launch in November.
CSA pulled the plug saying the venture would lose US$25 million in its first year‚ not least because a broadcaster and sponsors had not been secured.
Officially the T20GL was postponed for a year.
Unofficially it is an open secret that it will never see the floodlights of day/night.
According to a CSA release on February 3 a task team has been assembled — it includes Moroe and Appiah — and a workshop organised to “interrogate the concept”.
Two senior administrators denied the new plan had been rejected‚ saying that it would form part of wider discussion on the issue.
Another high-ranking official said: “The Council wanted other proposals; they’re not happy with the one that’s been put forward by management.”
We’ll find out on or around March 31 which path CSA choose to follow to T20 riches‚ or whether they will abandon the idea.
The proposed plan is more modest than the T20GL scheme‚ but it hasn’t met with the approval of heavyweight administrators who see external ownership of franchises as key to the financial health of the game.
“We may end up shooting ourselves in the foot if we go that route‚” one said about CSA retaining ownership.
“Private owners bring in resources that we will be unable to bring in.”
More contrasts in approach between the professionals and the amateurs are likely to be exposed before the annual meeting on September 8‚ when board members will be elected.
“The AGM is coming and some people’s term of office is coming to an end‚ and there will be jockeying for position‚” an official said.
That could make the Durban proposal worth supporting for those with their eye on positions and power‚ because‚ as a stalwart administrator said‚ “To sell a bad plan you need to lobby.”
The Members Council might use the ensuing months to remind the professional arm who is in charge‚ and they have the ammunition to do so in the shape of the professionals not giving them enough information on arrangements for the T20GL.
That was held up by Nenzani and Moroe as a major reason to call a halt to the T20GL‚ which cost Haroon Lorgat his job as chief executive and led to Moroe being installed in an acting capacity.
“The office needs to be transparent with the presidents and not dictate to them‚” a Council Member said. “It should be the other way round.”
Another took a more pragmatic view: “The members council is the highest authority in CSA.
“Whether that’s the case in reality is another matter.”