Lloyd Burnard

CSA has no excuses for T20 GL stuff-up

2017-10-11 08:44
Lloyd Burnard

Cape Town - Whichever way you look at it, the postponement of the first ever T20 Global League is a calamitous stuff-up that leaves Cricket South Africa (CSA) reeling. 

When the owners and cities were first unveiled in London back in June, it was clear that a lot needed to happen in a short space of time before the tournament could get underway in early November as planned. 

Players needed to be signed, sponsorship needed to be secured and CSA would have to sell their product to a broadcaster, with SuperSport always the obvious first-choice in that regard. 

There was no problem generating player interest, and a lavish player draft in Cape Town on August 27 did a good job of convincing everyone involved that things were on the right track. 

But when it came to securing cash investments - from both SuperSport and potential title sponsors - it appears that CSA priced themselves out. 

The day after the player draft, CSA held a press conference with then-CEO Haroon Lorgat and T20 GL tournament director Russell Adams. 

When questions opened to the floor, I asked Lorgat about the reported stumbling blocks the organisation was facing in its attempt to secure a broadcast deal. 

"You must know something I don't know," Lorgat snapped, before adding that he could have signed the deal whenever he wanted to.

He further added that the tournament was following due process and that the broadcast deal would be signed without any problems. 

As we now know, that was not the case. 

Lorgat and CSA parted ways two weeks ago, with the CSA board suggesting that he had withheld key information during the planning of the T20 GL. 

While the finer details are obviously very different, this whole debacle reminds of the embarrassment that was South Africa's bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Durban. 

In both instances, money was the reason for ultimate failure. But both of those failures could have been avoided with better planning. 

CSA has already thrown bucket-loads at this tournament and after the song and dance they made about how it was going to save cricket in the country, there is no excuse for getting things this wrong. 

When you come out guns blazing like they did, promising the world to players, fans and investors, you better be damn sure you can deliver.

"The loudest one in the room is the weakest one in the room," Denzel Washington says in American Gangster. That statement proves itself true time and time again. 

CSA looks extremely weak, if not crippled, right now. 

The plan is to launch the tournament in 2018, but in many ways the damage is already done. 

South Africa is already years late to the T20 party, and now they are even further behind. 

An internal investigation has to take place, and somebody needs to be held accountable for this mess. Where did it all go wrong and how was there nobody at CSA who saw this coming? 

As was the case with Durban 2022, it is puzzling that there was not a number cruncher involved to do the calculations and inform CSA of what was realistically possible and what was not. 

Regardless of what the more intricate details of this circus are, this is the result of poor administration and there is no way around that. 

The players, ultimately, are the ones who suffer most. Not the AB de Villiers', Dale Steyns and Faf du Dlessis' of the world. 

I'm talking about the semi-professional players who thought they had been given a career-defining opportunity by being included in this tournament. They are the ones who have been most hurt, both in terms of their long-term prospects and the immediate pay day. 

The players have to be compensated in some way, and that is a financial responsibility that CSA must now deliver on. 

In terms of the way forward, CSA needs to get its house in order as a matter of urgency. 

Lorgat's sudden departure, the T20 GL fiasco and the uncertainty of the Indian tour have all combined to paint the picture of an organisation that is all over the place currently. 

This was a competition that, glitz and glamour aside, was designed to help keep South African players in South Africa. 

But now that the players have been failed this badly by their own administration, who could blame them for seeking greener pastures elsewhere? 

Lloyd Burnard is a journalist at Sport24 and the former Sports Editor of The Witness newspaper ...

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.


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