Cricket South Africa remains tight-lipped about its stated new franchise T20 tournament, while around it speculation continues to swirl that the organisation faces an embarrassing trip to the courts over the defunct T20 Global League.
Details about the new six team tournament, first announced in June, have been extremely sketchy even though it has been agreed to by CSA’s Board of Directors.
No headline sponsor has been announced despite Cricket SA’s new CEO Thabang Moroe mentioning more than once that he was close to unveiling one.
Meanwhile, Independent Media understands franchises have been putting together bid books for the right to host a franchise in the proposed new tournament which will form part of the equity partnership CSA has with broadcaster SuperSport, which will own 49% of the new competition.
Cricket SA is forging ahead despite condemnation about the tie-in with SuperSport and the proposed new tournament from owners of the now defunct T20GL competition which has already cost CSA over R200-million since its cancellation last October.
Haroon Lorgat and CSA “parted ways” following the cancellation although he still earns a full pay cheque from the federation - while the findings of an internal inquiry into the failure to establish the competition, has not been made public.
There is no doubt that CSA has lost the PR battle with the former owners.
Moroe admitted previously that trust had been breached between CSA and the businesses who’d negotiated to own franchises in the tournament’s previous guise.
He had been hopeful of bringing them on board as far as the new competition is concerned but following meetings in Dubai and Mumbai last week that will clearly not be the case.
Moroe, who was accompanied by independent directors Louis von Zeuner and Iqbal Khan, returned to South Africa on Monday, but has only been able to convene a sitting of CSA’s Board this weekend where his discussions with the former owners will be on the agenda.
Comment is only expected after the meeting.
The organisation’s reputation continues to be tarnished with at least three former owners publicly claiming this week that they were ready to go to court while vehemently criticising Moroe and CSA’s stance on the new competition, following last week’s meetings in Dubai and Mumbai.
“We are unequivocal that in any future event, our rights must be respected and that Qalandars must be a participating team in the T20 league”, said Mr Sameen Rana, CEO of the Durban Qalandars.
Rana also disputed CSA’s assertion that it had refunded deposits related to ownership of the franchises and went further saying it had neither requested nor is interested in receiving any repayment because it “remains totally committed towards participating in CSA’s T20 event.”
Trust issues remain as expressed by the prospective owners of the Bloemfontein franchise, who in a statement said “there is a general feeling of the owners being taken for a ride.”