Town - The new Cricket
South Africa (CSA) leadership is under pressure and on the
ropes, and it has nothing to do with anything happening on the
This time, last year, Haroon Lorgat had
one goal: to launch the first ever T20 Global League.
It was a tournament designed to
lure international players, an international audience and international
investors and it was to be South Africa’s glamorous answer to the IPL and Big
Cashing in on the T20 gravy train
is a party that South Africa was years late to, but this was a way of keeping
players in the country and, ultimately, secure the long-term financial success
of the sport.
It didn't work out that
Lorgat was ousted as CEO, and
just days later Thabang Moroe and the CSA board binned the Global League. The
absence of a dedicated broadcaster and concerns over the product’s financial
sustainability were cited as the reasons, and Lorgat's allegedly flawed
financial model ultimately cost him his job.
Moroe flexed his muscles as
acting CEO and, under his leadership, CSA set about relaunching the tournament
in 2018. Instead, the wheels have fallen off and this T20 journey looks
destined to end a write-off.
The tournament has been reduced
from eight teams to six, a ground-breaking equity partnership with SuperSport
was announced and then embarrassingly rescinded and, most importantly, we are
still no closer to knowing how this competition will work or what it will look
There are no owners, no host
cities, no players, no fixtures, no broadcast deals, no sponsors and, to make
matters worse, several of the previous owners have threatened legal action
against CSA for how they were treated in the restructuring of the tournament.
It would take a small miracle for
Moroe and CSA to pull this off from here.
A final decision will be made by
mid-September at the latest, but that is only three weeks away and there is
simply too much to do in too little time.
Looking at where the Lorgat
administration was at this time, last year helps put things into
While the Global League had its
own concerns, it had still ticked some very important boxes by now.
The owners of all eight
franchises had been unveiled (seven of them were foreign) and all had committed
to pumping money into the communities of their host cities.
A player draft had also secured
some major names in the cricketing world with AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn, Kevin
Pietersen, Chris Gayle, Eoin Morgan, Brendon McCullum, Lasith Malinga and
Kieron Pollard the headliners.
There was also a full, confirmed
Sadly, the 2018 model is yet to
get out of first gear.
The Global League has proved to
be nothing but a headache for CSA since the very beginning, and there is no
immediate remedy in sight.
On Monday afternoon, CSA received
another blow when it was confirmed that Sunfoil had ended its seven-year long
partnership as a major sponsor of the sport in the country.
Sunfoil had taken ownership of
all home Test matches as well as the domestic four-day competition; a major
relief to CSA given the global struggles of the game’s longest formats.
Now, with a month to go until the
start of the 2018/19 domestic season, CSA has only one title sponsor for its
three premium domestic competitions.
Momentum will continue backing
the 50-over tournament, but the four-day competition as well as the domestic
T20 tournament, formerly called the RAM SLAM T20 Challenge, go in without any
CSA say they are at advanced
stages in securing a replacement for Sunfoil.
Time will tell if that is the
case, but it doesn't detract from the fact that the new leadership under Moroe
is in a hot mess.
Somewhere, Lorgat must be sitting
feet up, watching this disaster unfold one sorry chapter at a time.
Lloyd Burnard is a
journalist at Sport24 and the former Sports Editor of The Witness newspaper ...
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