JOHANNESBURG - Cricket South Africa is giving itself until the middle of September to finalise its oft-talked about and long overdue T20 franchise tournament.
The federation released a long-winded statement Friday, in which it outlined its stable financial outlook (although it did not provide any details) and said the many challenges it has faced in establishing a T20 competition to match similar events in India, Australia and the Caribbean was the result of difficult market conditions which has forced it to be extra cautious.
Nevertheless with the start of the season just weeks away and the proposed six team tournament - down from eight which would have been the figure for the T20 Global League - supposed to start in November, Cricket SA said it was crucial they get the event up and running.
“CSA believes that this can become a global sport event on the national calendar,” the organisation said in its statement. “The Board of CSA is very aware of time pressures to ensure a successful hosting and has therefore mandated the executive to pursue opportunities with a definite date by no later than middle of September to present a final outcome. Very strict financial disciplines are in place to ensure that any effort to reach such finality will not cause financial pressure on CSA.”
Cricket SA’s attempts to organise a T20 competition have been beset with problems following the decision to postpone the T20GL last year. That move led to more than R200 million in losses for the federation. Subsequently it has suffered further embarrassment as owners of franchises in the defunct league have sought compensation and further involvement in any new competition that CSA’s wishes to establish. Some have threatened to sue CSA.
This week also saw CSA lose its equity partner for the new league when broadcaster SuperSport pulled out of its arrangement with the federation - something CSA described as unfortunate on Friday.
Cricket South Africa in partnership with Armscor and the Dept. of Education launched the School in the Box pilot project at the CSA Hub in Hammanskraal, Gauteng #SchoolInTheBox pic.twitter.com/dSYBxHSrUM
The organisation nevertheless pressed ahead with assessing bids from 10 venues to host the six team tournament later this summer. Cricket SA added in its statement that there were opportunities to expand the event in the future.
The organisation briefed the government regarding the new league after it had asked parliament to postpone its appearance before the portfolio committee this week until after its Annual General Meeting on September 11, where the federation’s financial statements will be released.
“It is important to highlight that CSA is a profitable sporting federation and that much as we believe in the product, we do not have to host a T20 league to assure financial sustainability,” said CEO Thabang Moroe.
The statement also included a comment from Minister of Sport Tokozile Xasa in which she “welcomed” CSA’s briefing in which details around the competition were outlined. The statement did not address the disgruntled former owners of franchises in the T20GL.