Another T20GL franchise voices unhappiness with Cricket SA

26 June 2018 - 17:54 By Telford Vice
General views during the T20 Global League Draft at Westin Hotel in 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa.
General views during the T20 Global League Draft at Westin Hotel in 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Image: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

And then there were three — T20 Global League (T20GL) franchise owners unhappy about Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) handling of the tournament that never was.

CSA’s board have said that “the majority of the owners [of the eight teams] clearly indicated the important matters they wanted to be resolved‚ that being the refund of the deposits and matters re: cost incurred”.

That was after the Durban Qualandars joined the Pretoria Mavericks among those disgruntled with CSA’s decision to reinvent the competition — which was to have been played for the first time last November and December but was postponed for a year when it emerged it would lose almost R180-million — as a new venture owned by the board and SuperSport.

Most of the original franchise owners have been refunded their deposit of US$250 000 — almost R3.4-million at the current exchange rate — plus interest of 3% or 3.5%.

But that’s not good enough for the Qualandars‚ who say they want a piece of the action instead‚ nor the Mavericks‚ who also want the up to R6.7-million they have spent on salaries and logistics.

On Tuesday‚ the Nelson Mandela Bay Stars clambered onto the bandwagon.

“CSA has no right to damage our credibility‚” Ajay Sethi‚ the owner of the Port Elizabeth franchise‚ told TimesLIVE.

“Either they should let the owners or IMG [the International Management Group] run the league‚ or pay us projected profits and damages.

“They can’t get away with everything.”

That was Sethi’s response when asked why he wanted to remain involved with the project despite CSA having let the owners down.

Asked if the Stars were‚ like the Qualandars and the Mavericks‚ considering taking legal action against CSA‚ Sethi said‚ “Yes‚ as CSA can’t send the deposit back and take our rights.”

In a statement released earlier‚ Sethi wrote‚ “We were very happy that the SuperSport deal was the way forward for all of us‚ but it was shocking to hear that CSA had another agenda by putting owners out of the league.”

The T20GL was called off in October partly because of CSA’s failure‚ they said‚ to secure a host broadcaster. But Sethi apparently smells a rat.

“ … CSA seems to have a different plan to remove the owners and then do the media deal‚” he wrote.

“This is totally unethical and no federation will do that in any part of the world.

“We would like to know how can SuperSport sign the deal immediately after the termination letter was sent to us?”

That CSA had paid back his deposit didn’t cut much ice with Sethi.

“We have made it very clear to CSA that if they don’t give a definite date for the new league‚ the deposit would be refunded.

“Moreover‚ we clearly mentioned to them that our rights remain as owners.

“CSA didn’t respond; that meant they had accepted our mail.

“Hence‚ by returning our refund [sic]‚ CSA cannot take our rights back as owners.”

While he was at it‚ Sethi laid into CSA for the way their relationship with Haroon Lorgat ended.

The board said shortly before the T20GL was shelved that they had “parted ways amicably” with former chief executive Lorgat.

“We feel that they terminated the CEO to manipulate the process‚” Sethi wrote.

“This is totally unethical and no federation will do that in any part of the world.”

He warned that CSA’s behaviour could have far-reaching adverse effects: “There is no trust left on any federation of sports in South Africa‚ rugby‚ soccer‚ etc … all. Who can we trust?

“Foreign investment of 500-million was wasted. This kind of behavior has given a wrong message to foreign investors in any business field.”

Lorgat was the driving force behind the T20GL‚ and Sethi highlighted the theory that his demise as CSA’s chief executive was part of an effort by other heavyweights at the organisation to take control.

“The GLT20 is a victim of personal egos‚” Sethi wrote.

“The agendas of these few individuals has made all reputed owners suffer damages and losses as well as ruined their reputation.”

CSA have yet to respond to requests for comment on Sethi’s statement.

Best they get a move on‚ because if another T20GL franchise announces their unhappiness there goes the “majority”.

And‚ TimesLIVE understands‚ the Benoni Zalmi and Bloem City Blazes are less than chuffed.