This latest incident stems again from Saca accusing the CSA of illegitimately using the players’ images for commercial gain. Photo: Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG - There might be an additional item on the agenda at Cricket SA’s emergency board meeting on Saturday if the country’s players follow through on a threat to strike.

The SA Cricketers’ Association (Saca), which represents the country’s professional players including the men’s and women’s Proteas, said yesterday that it would hold a meeting of its players’ executive committee and its management board to discuss the manner in which the association and the players were being treated by the CSA.

“This discussion is likely to include the possibility of the players taking some form of industrial, or protest, action,” said Saca chief executive Tony Irish.

“Saca has always considered strike, and other similar forms of industrial action, to be a very last resort and in its 17 years of dealing with the CSA not one day of cricket has ever been lost to industrial action,” he said.

“However, things have now reached a stage where we must ask what Saca and the players are expected to do when the leadership of CSA, both operationally and on its board, continue to ignore our legitimate concerns and refuse to acknowledge the players as key stakeholders in the game,” he continued. Irish’s final point was illustrated in an apology made by the CSA’s chief executive, Thabang Moroe, on Tuesday evening, which he addressed to “key stakeholders” that included fans, sponsors, the media, but not the players.

“CSA says it’s been engaging with key stakeholders,” Irish tweeted after Moroe’s apology. “No engagement with us. Clearly it doesn’t consider @SACAplayers and players as key stakeholders.”

The rift between CSA and Saca, which represents more than 300 professional cricketers, including all of the Proteas’ men and women, has grown to oceanic proportions in the last 12 months, culminating first in Saca taking the CSA to court over the proposed restructuring of the domestic game and now in this threat of industrial action.

This latest incident stems again from Saca accusing the CSA of illegitimately using the players’ images for commercial gain in relation to the Mzansi Super League.

A failure to pay for the image rights of players for last year’s tournament almost led to a players’ strike in this year’s competition until the CSA coughed up in the region of R2.4million shortly before the competition started. That drama led to the suspension of three senior officials, whose disciplinary hearings were still in the process of being handled.

“CSA has used, and allowed the use of the names and images of players in association with a fantasy league game related to Mzansi Super League without any rights to do so and despite Saca having relayed to CSA that such use is unlawful,” Irish said about the latest dispute with CSA.

“The situation has continued despite our concerns raised on repeated occasions.” Saca said it had also expressed its concerns that if players’ images were used in this fantasy league game some may draw an association between the players and gambling and betting practices, which was not permitted under CSA’s anti-corruption code.


The Star

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