Free State Cricket CEO Johan van Heerden says Bloemfontein should have been given a T20 franchise instead of Paarl.
On Wednesday, CSA confirmed the franchise owners for the new tournament, which will effectively replace the failed Mzanzi Super League.
Cape Town (Newlands), Durban (Kingsmead), Gqeberha (St George’s Park), Johannesburg (Wanderers), Paarl (Boland Park) and Pretoria (SuperSport Park) will each host a franchise.
Bloemfontein, which was included in the aborted eight-team Global League T20, missed out on the six-team MSL and has been snubbed again for the new tournament, which will be played in January and February next year.
“If you take the fact that Cape Town and Paarl are only 59km apart, it doesn’t make sense to have two franchises close together if you’re the custodians of cricket,” Van Heerden told Sport24.
“As the custodians of the game, CSA haven’t allowed cricket to come to the central part of the country, which leads to why the terms safeguard those who look after the game here.
“It’s wrong and I simply cannot describe it differently.”
Van Heerden said it could even spell the end of Free State Cricket.
“We’ve got an excellent maintenance plan in place for a while, so we weren’t going to embarrass CSA in any way.
“Such a decision means that our financial sustainability is threatened, and we may need to close down.
“We’ve done everything possible and we have to ask ourselves how we are going to survive now.
“Our venue is expensive to run and if you can’t finance that with a different income stream outside of cricket, you’re in trouble.
“One may have to close the venue, so that’s the call CSA needs to make. If they’ve decided that Bloemfontein is a venue they don’t want to bring international cricket to, they’re on the right path.
“If it’s something that they want to keep open and pursue, on the current structure they’re presenting to us, it’s going to be extremely difficult for Free State Cricket to keep the stadium going.”
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