JOHANNESBURG – Cricket South Africa’s new franchise T20 competition suffered yet another massive blow when broadcaster SuperSport announced it would be withdrawing from its shareholding arrangement with the federation.
That collaboration, announced in June saw CSA and SuperSport set up a company called ‘NewCo’ - with CSA as the majority shareholder - which would have overseen the running of a new franchise T20 tournament to replace the defunct T20 Global League.
However on Tuesday night, SuperSport withdrew its backing from the company, with its CEO Gideon Khobane describing the move as “unfortunate.”
“We reached an in-principle agreement with CSA regarding co-ownership of this event in June this year. Since then, the parties have been engaged in amicable discussions regarding the details of the proposed relationship” added Khobane.
“We have used our best endeavours to reach consensus with CSA around that shareholding model, but this has unfortunately not happened. The discussions on the in-principle shareholding agreement terminated on 23 July 2018”
“We have therefore decided to discontinue negotiations about shareholding. We are, however engaged in constructive discussions with CSA regarding the broadcast of the event,” concluded Khobane.
While Cricket SA may regard the negotiations over the broadcasting rights as a positive, SuperSport’s decision nevertheless adds to the reputational damage the federation has suffered as its attempts to set up a T20 tournament to rival the IPL, Australia’s Big Bash and the West Indies’s Caribbean League lurches from one disaster to the next.
The cancellation of the T20GL already cost CSA in the region of R200-million and the ending of the equity arrangement, comes on top of the failure to secure a headline sponsor, despite assurances on more than one occasion from CSA’s new chief executive Thabang Moroe that he was close to doing so.
Moroe had announced that CSA’s Board of Directors had agreed to a new six team competition would replace the eight-team T20GL, and would start in November. As things stand now, CSA was supposed to announce where those six teams were based, but has yet to do so.
The federation has maintained a stony silence since four owners of franchises that would have participated in the T20GL have threatened to sue the federation saying their rights had been infringed over CSA’s failure to properly inform them about the T20GL’s cancellation, while also claiming that the new competition couldn’t go ahead because they had not been properly compensated for their investment in the previous tournament.
Moroe was due to appear before Parliament’s portfolio committee on sport and recreation on Tuesday, where he was due to give an update on the progress regarding the T20 tournament, but he’s asked for a postponement.