CSA faces a media blackout on T20 talk until parliament has approved its plans.
South African Minister for Sports Tokozile Xasa is considering issuing a moratorium which would prevent Cricket South Africa from issuing any announcements about a new T20 tournament until the plans have been scrutinised by the parliamentary committee for sports and recreation.
The request for the moratorium was made by the country’s deputy shadow minister of sports and recreation Darren Bergman earlier this week. Bergman cited the risk of more financial losses as sufficient reason for parliament to seek assurance of the proposed launch of CSA’s T20 competition later this year.
The T20 Global League was postponed to November 2018 after the controversial departure of former CSA CEO Haroon Lorgat. CSA recently announced plans to partner with broadcaster SuperSport in a new-look, six-franchise competition.
‘While I do not believe that politicians should interfere in the running of sports and that we are best placed to play a supportive role, I am concerned that Cricket South Africa has the potential to risk major reputational and financial loss both to the sport as well as to the players and sponsors,’ asserted Bergman.
‘This could have a negative impact locally and internationally.’
The original tournament allowed for private ownership, while the revamped version doesn’t, a decision which has angered Pretoria Mavericks franchise owner Hiren Bhanu, the Durban Qalandars’ Sameen Rana and others.
Early August meetings between several former T20 Global League owners and CSA representatives in Mumbai and Dubai did little to placate Bhanu and company.
Bhanu is currently pursuing an interdict against CSA to prevent any T20 tournament being played in Centurion.
‘They’ve given us no alternative. We’re going ahead and suing them,’ he was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz. ‘We have no choice. They are all liars.
‘How is it possible that we, as former owners, can get a stake later, when SuperSport are 49% partners in your new entity and you haven’t even asked their consent? It’s nonsense.’
Nelson Mandela Bay Stars owner Ajay Sethi added: ‘CSA have continuously changed their position and have shown no interest in working with the current T20 Global League owners.
‘As owners, we now have no option but to go the legal route and consider all legal options to protect our interests.’
Losses incurred by last year’s postponement have been estimated to be in the region of R220-million. Legal proceedings would see this figure grow substantially.