Tony Irish speaks on behalf of the SA (Cricket) Players Association. Photo: INLSA

CAPE TOWN – Cricket South Africa may have given the green light for its new T20 League to go ahead in the November this year, but the most important role players, namely the players themselves, have yet to be consulted.
 
This is according to Tony Irish, CEO of the South African Players' Association (Saca), who has welcomed the advent of the competition, but believes there are crucial elements missing two months before the scheduled start on November 9.
 
“The announcement of a new T20 League is positive news and will be widely welcomed by the players. We believe that it is critical for South Africa, as one of the world’s leading cricket countries, to have its own world class T20 competition and that this is as attractive to players as some of the existing T20 leagues in other countries,” Irish told Independent Media.
 
“But we have not been involved in any of the discussions, in terms of the planning at all. There has been plenty of controversy surrounding the tournament and we are not sure about the fundamentals of the tournament, namely headline sponsor, broadcast deal, venues and teams.”
 
Saca, with Irish as its head, played a pivotal role in drawing up the player contracts for last season’s proposed Global T20 League, and in turn the compensation deals when the tournament was postponed.
 
Irish says all the ground work has already been done for this year’s competition, and expects another player draft to be conducted this year once the six teams are announced, but is wary of the availability of the marquee overseas signings.
 
“The draft is the preferred way of acquiring players for the new teams, but there are still things to be looked at in terms of the fact that the marquee players were contracted and not drafted, while nobody has looked at the availability of the overseas players,” Irish said.
 
“There is a T10 tournament happening in Dubai during the same window so that could affect availability. It is a big positive that there is extra money available to the players, in terms of separate contracts, but we would like to see the whole thing being done properly.”

Cricket SA CEO Thabang Moroe. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Cricket SA CEO Thabang Moroe. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix 

CSA’s proposed new T20 tournament has been an albatross hanging over its head since its former chief executive Haroon Lorgat parted ways last September. Last month SuperSport pulled out of their equity partnership with the board for the league, although they remain the frontrunners to broadcast the tournament.
 
The situation surrounding last year’s Global T20 League investors have not been resolved as yet either, with the previous team owners threatening to take CSA over its handling of the T20 tournament after the postponement. Equally, CSA remain on the lookout for a headline sponsor for the tournament, although they ate willing to fund the tournament through its reserves at this stage to get the tournament running.



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Who is SACA?
The South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA) is the official players association and collective representative of South Africa’s professional and senior professional cricketers. SACA is the voice of the players in South African cricket.