JOHANNESBURG  The SA Cricketers’ Association (Saca) concerns over the future of the game in the country have not been allayed despite Cricket SA holding a press conference to provide clarity on the issue on Friday.

“We remain concerned by the financial position in cricket and in particular by the very substantial four-year deficit which CSA is forecasting,” said Saca president, Omphile Ramela.

“We want to understand exactly how that is being dealt with and be comfortable with what the deficit, including the MSL (Mzansi Super League), actually is. We will then know the extent of the financial challenge and can be part of the solution to that challenge.

“We have addressed our specific, constructive concerns to CSA in writing but have still had no reply. The statements made yesterday have given us no further clarity on this. It’s our duty as the representative of all the players to make decisions from a fully informed position.

“Regarding CSA’s announcement of a domestic restructure to 12 teams CSA stated yesterday that Saca has agreed to this restructure. This is not correct, and Saca has yet to agree to any restructure.

“Any agreement by us would need to be a decision of the full players’ executive of Saca and we will only take that decision when we know exactly how this will affect the players, including in regard to contract numbers.

“Going to 12 teams may well have some positives and  may give some players more opportunity to play at a higher level, but there is also no doubt that many other players will lose their jobs as professional cricketers.

“It is also very likely that if this is part of a cost-saving exercise players are going to end up earning less. If CSA says that is not the case then we want to understand how that is actually going to be possible.”

Saca Chief Executive, Tony Irish, stated: “I wish to again confirm that CSA has not properly consulted with Saca on the domestic restructure. The fact that I was present at certain meetings when the issue of possible restructure was raised does not constitute consultation.

“There has been no discussion with us on how any restructure would actually work and I have consistently stated to CSA that Saca cannot make any decision on this at least until we understand the financial position and the ‘human impact’ on the players.

“If there is any doubt as to whether or not consultation has taken place then one only needs to look at a recent agreement signed by CSA and Saca dealing directly with this. As part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) both CSA and Saca signed what is known as a Recognition Agreement which sets out how identified, important matters will be dealt with by the parties.

“This agreement contains a clear consultation process to be followed before CSA can make any decision specifically on the domestic restructure of the game. CSA has simply ignored that agreement.

“CSA stated yesterday that it will continue to engage Saca going forward” continued Ramela, “yet Saca’s CEO was at the same time banned from a meeting of CSA’s CEC, of which he is a member, when the domestic restructure was being discussed.

“Saca wants South African cricket to be financially sustainable into the future and we want to see the best domestic structure possible given the financial situation. That should also be a structure that is good for our players.

“We call on CSA to address our concerns, to consult properly with us, to respect the agreements they have signed with us and to respect Saca and its leadership,” concluded Ramela. 

African News Agency (ANA)