JOHANNESBURG – The widening chasm between Cricket South Africa and the players union – the SA Cricketers Association – grew bigger still on Tuesday.
Saca’s chief executive Tony Irish disputed the assertion by his CSA counterpart Thabang Moroe that Saca had endorsed a restructuring of the domestic game.
The plan will see the end of the current six-team franchise structure and a return to a 12-team provincial structure.
“We never endorsed that,” said Irish, claiming there was clearly a breakdown between Saca and CSA, citing the submission of court papers by the players union at the end of May.
Saca want CSA to provide reasons for the restructuring, which will affect the livelihood of many of their over 300 members.
Moroe claimed on Tuesday that Saca had refused to give CSA the opportunity to consult with provincial players, implying that Irish, in speaking to the country’s professional cricketers, wasn’t giving them the right information as CSA intended.
While claiming there wasn’t a breakdown between Saca and CSA – a view not shared by Irish – Moroe said there was a “disconnect” between the players and the federation.
He claimed that the “disconnect” was Cricket SA’s fault.
“Too much of the human resource capability that the company should have been performing on behalf of the players were outsourced to Saca. And naturally, that drove the players to those who were seen to be looking after them.”
Irish said: “We have been an independent players association in operation for 17 years, and for 15 of those, we have had a constructive relationship with Cricket SA.”
The acrimony between the players association and CSA forms the backdrop against which CSA is implementing a new structure around the national team, one that is attempting, according to Moroe, to bring the federation closer to the Proteas specifically.
“We had to work on a new strategy in terms of seeing where Cricket SA was headed in the future. We have ‘Project 654’, the restructuring of domestic cricket and part of the strategy sessions.
“We spoke about the national team and what we wanted to achieve through the national team.
“Part of that was bringing the national team closer to the organisation so that we are seen as one organisation,” said Moroe.
Ottis Gibson was told on Sunday that his services were no longer required, and CSA then announced a radical new structure, placing a director of cricket in charge of overseeing all national teams and developing a strategy for the 2023 Cricket World Cup.
A brand new position was formulated combining the responsibilities of head coach and team manager into one, to be known as the team director.
That person will be answerable to the director of cricket, who in turn will be answerable to Moroe.
“Accountability was the key factor, there is a clear line of sight,” said Moroe. “We took most of the responsibilities that used to lie with the board of directors.
“Those responsibilities will now be passed to me as CEO. I was then encouraged by the board to do the same and empower the management staff who will report to me with the power-making decisions, so that I would hold them to account.