T20 league in crisis
Cricket South Africa forced to postpone tournament after lack of finance
South Africa’s planned T20 Global League has been postponed for a year, potentially leaving a raft of players entitled to compensation.
The decision was taken at a joint Cricket South Africa (CSA) and T20 Global League board meeting yesterday with the South African Cricketers’ Association expressing “concern and disappointment” at the decision and calling for an independent review into the reasons for the postponement, plus recompense for affected players.
The announcement came just four days after CSA president Chris Nenzani told media that the league would go ahead but was expected to lose up to $25 million (Dh91.8m) for the first two seasons – and 12 days after a shock announcement that CSA and chief executive Haroon Lorgat, the chief negotiator for the league, had parted ways.
The league, planned as South Africa’s answer to the IPL and Australia’s Big Bash League, was due to start on November 3. It is now planned for November 2018.
Although specific reasons for the postponement were not revealed in a CSA press release, Nenzani and acting chief executive Thabang Moroe admitted at a media briefing last Friday that no broadcast deal or title sponsorship was in place.
The CSA statement quoted Moroe as saying: “We have not come to this decision lightly. Having discussed it with all our stakeholders, including the franchise owners, we believe that the interest of the league should be our first priority. We have re-assessed our strategy and believe that postponing the first edition to next year will serve us well.”
Several international stars, including Brendon McCullum, Chris Gayle, Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan, had been signed up for the league, along with all South Africa’s leading players.
Tony Irish, chief executive of the South African Cricketers’ Association, said the postponement would have “a very significant impact” on 144 local and overseas players who had signed contracts or been drafted to play in the eight-team league.
Irish said his organisation would be looking at all implications of the postponement for players, “including what compensation should be paid to them”.
British reports claimed Pietersen, Morgan and Alex Hales have missed out on fees of around £100,000 (Dh485,000).
South African-born Pietersen tweeted: “CSA have ‘postponed’ their Global T20 League. Feel so sorry for all the youngsters who were going to learn and earn out of this comp! Disaster for SA sport!
“The $ goes a long way in SA when converted. To think of the number of SA youngsters, players about to retire and coaches missing out this season is simply not good enough!”
“Feel so sorry for all the youngesters who were going to learn and earn” – Pietersen
Uncertain future: South Africa internationals AB De Villiers and Chris Morris were both signed up to play.