Cricket South Africa Forced To Postpone T20 Global League
Cricket South Africa’s "troubled" T20 Global League has been postponed to '18 in an "embarrassing climb-down" for the organization which launched the tournament "amid great fanfare" in London in June, according to Nick Said of REUTERS. Failure to secure a suitable broadcast package or a title sponsor meant CSA stood to lose about $25M, "representing roughly half of the organisation’s cash reserves." CSA CEO Thabang Moroe said, "We have not come to this decision lightly." A number of top int'l players had been signed for the '17 competition, including England one-day captain Eoin Morgan and former England batsman Kevin Pietersen. The six-week tournament, due to feature eight teams, was scheduled to run from Nov. 3-Dec. 16. Former CSA CEO Haroon Lorgat left his job suddenly last month "citing a clash with the organisation’s board," widely reported in South African media to be about his role in setting up the T20 Global League (REUTERS, 10/10). ESPN.com's Firdose Moonda reported the South African Cricketers' Association called for an "independent review" into what caused the postponement. SACA CEO Tony Irish said, "This has a very significant impact on a large number of local and overseas players, all of whom have signed contracts to play in the league. ... SACA is well aware of the fact that this will also affect various other groups including franchises, coaches and stadium owners. I think it will be necessary for CSA to appoint its own independent review into what has actually transpired here." CSA reportedly informed all eight franchises of the decision over the past few days. With less than a month to go before kickoff, the event "faced numerous logistical challenges," resulting in "hefty financial losses." Though local broadcaster SuperSport is understood to have been "close to putting pen to paper," the deal was going to be worth much less than CSA anticipated. Last week, Moroe provided an assurance that "the tournament would go ahead as planned." One of the GLT20 franchise owners said that Lorgat's absence created "much bigger challenges" in putting the tournament together, "because he was its driving force." The owner said, "When you know that something is not right then you should not do it. We are half-prepared and it will be a bigger disaster if we go this way." There was "no indication that any of the current owners, seven of whom are from overseas, would withdraw from the event." The postponement of the GLT20 "leaves an enormous gap" in the South African cricket calendar. For six weeks in peak summer, "neither the national team nor the domestic franchises will be in action because CSA had created space for the event" (ESPN.com, 10/10).
FAILED EXPERIMENT: CRICBUZZ's Holme & Alfred wrote the tournament "attracted controversy from the outset." It was "plagued" by low levels of transparency, secrecy about the amounts franchise owners paid for franchise licenses and obscurity about sponsors. Hundreds of millions of rands have "already been lost, including spending on a draft, a lavish launch at the Bulgari Hotel in London's Knightsbridge and jetting across the world for the CSA inner sanctum" as it "hoped to close sponsorship and broadcast rights deals." Rather than "a summer of T20 fun, it will be one of consolidation and mortification." What "will be seen in future years as Lorgat's folly has come tumbling well and truly down" (CRICBUZZ, 10/10).