CSA interim board and Members’ Council endorse new domestic cricket structure
JOHANNESBURG - South African cricket will revert back to a provincial system following Cricket SA’s acceptance of a plan for the restructuring of the domestic game.
Under the plan, the six franchises, which are currently the most senior level of domestic cricket, will dissolve, with the 15 provincial teams replacing them. Cricket SA’s Members Council on Friday approved the new plan, which follows deliberations undertaken by a task team that was headed up by former ICC chief executive, Dave Richardson.
The creation of a new domestic structure has been on the cards for a few years after Cricket SA claimed that the sport locally, was placing a huge financial burden on the organisation, and that the franchise system, which has operated since the 2003/04 season, was not generating money.
The restructuring was a central point of ‘Project 654’ the belt tightening exercise CSA undertook two and half years ago. It led to the breakdown in relations with the players union, the SA Cricketer Association, which took CSA to court claiming that the players had not been properly informed about the planned restructuring as CSA was duty bound to do according to the Memorandum of Understanding between the two bodies.
Cricket SA emphasised on Friday, that SACA had been kept fully abreast of the restructuring since the proposals were first made by Richardson last February.
Under the new structure, 15 teams will be divided into two sections - an 8-7 split into a first and second division 2 arrangement with automatic promotion and relegation to be implemented.
Teams in both divisions will play a single round of matches in the four-day competition, a one day tournament and a T20 competition. Cricket SA wasn’t clear about where there would be promotion/relegation across all three formats.
“This automatic promotion and relegation system aims to provide healthy tension in the system which will enhance a high performance environment, while providing opportunity for those Division 2 Members, who want to be part of a competitive first division, said CSA’s statement.
Cricket SA said the 8-7 divisional split will be determined by a “Bid process” in which each Member will be evaluated based on its “performance, both current and historical, against defined Evaluation Criteria, as well as its Strategic Plan for running and sustaining a professional team within the new professional era at Affiliate Member level.”
"The enhancement will include: an improved contract system, an increase in the number and quality of opportunities as well as an improvement of leadership talent within CSA’s coaching structures," CSA said in its statement on Friday.
"The proposed competition structure will offer more opportunities to players at the highest first-class domestic level, essentially widening the talent pool for the national selectors."
The new structure is set to launch in the 2021/22 season.