“The players’ livelihoods depend on cricket’s financial sustainability, but this is not only about the players. It is also about the future of the entire game in our country,” says Omphile Ramela. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – The SA Cricketers’ Association (Saca) on Tuesday responded to Cricket South Africa’s (CSA’s) announcement over the weekend on austerity plans and the restructuring of domestic cricket into 12 teams.

“Saca has formally written to CSA twice in the last six weeks to express its concerns relating to CSA’s financial position,” said Saca president Omphile Ramela.

“To date, we haven’t received any reply at all to those letters.

“It is critical for us as the players association and the representative of all of South Africa’s professional cricketers to know the extent of the financial challenge facing cricket, and to be comfortable on how that challenge is being dealt with.

“The players’ livelihoods depend on cricket’s financial sustainability, but this is not only about the players.

“It is also about the future of the entire game in our country.”

Saca chief executive Tony Irish said: “A four-year deficit amounting to hundreds of millions of rands is unprecedented in South African cricket and is a serious concern to us as the representative of the players.

“The future of the game is in the balance and as a critical stakeholder we believe the players have a right to know what the financial position actually is, how it is being dealt with and how this is going to affect not only them, but also all other cricket stakeholders.

“We have asked CSA for clarity and to date it has not provided this. Saca wishes to act responsibly and play its part in dealing with the challenge, but in order to do that, CSA must play open cards with us and properly engage with us.

“CSA has instead gone ahead with the announcement of a restructure of domestic cricket, to effectively merge the franchise and provincial systems, as part of its austerity plan, without any meaningful consultation with Saca and despite the fact that this will directly affect the players.”

“This restructure, announced as part of cost saving measures, is likely to lead to at least 70 players losing their contracts and many other players at franchise level having their earnings reduced. The ‘human impact’ of this is significant.

“Saca has a collective agreement in place with CSA, franchises and provinces, known as the MOU, which deals with these issues yet CSA has, in announcing this structure, disregarded that agreement.

“There are also many important cricket implications in making any change of this nature.

“These include things like competition structures across the cricket formats, maintaining competitive balance between teams and ensuring that any new structure promotes the retention of our players for Proteas selection. These have not been properly discussed with us either.

“As a first step to resolve this situation we urge CSA to respond to us on the concerns, which we have raised in writing with it,” concluded Irish.

African News Agency (ANA)