T20 league in cri­sis

Cricket South Africa forced to post­pone tour­na­ment after lack of fi­nance

Sport360 - - Cricket - By Colin Bry­den @Sport360 edi­to­rial@sport360.com

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.

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