Cape Town - The South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) has voiced fresh concerns over its relationship with Cricket South Africa (CSA).
This comes as the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the country's cricketers (represented by SACA) and CSA is set to expire on April 30.
SACA is concerned by the fact that, as yet, they have not been engaged by CSA over the renewal of the exisiting MOU, which is based on a financial sharing model between CSA and the players.
But, on Wednesday, CSA released a statement saying that the new MOU would be finalised as a matter of urgency and that it would run for the next five-year period.
If the new MOU can not be signed off by May 1, CSA continued, then the existing contracts would role over until such time as it was.
But SACA on Thursday hit back, expressing disappointment in the way that CSA had dealt with the matter.
"We are both surprised and disappointed that CSA has seen fit to make a public statement announcing plans relating to the MOU without giving us any proper opportunity to respond to, or to deal with, these first," said Tony Irish, SACA’s chief executive, in a statement.
"The suggested plans have caused consternation amongst players and they require a response from SACA.
"The indication of further possible delays and the unworkability of certain aspects of what is being suggested are particular matters of concern to us. The suggestion also that there have actually been negotiations conducted by SACA officials with CSA on the MOU to date is also not correct. Negotiations on the key elements have yet to start.
"SACA has been doing everything possible from its side for approximately three months to engage with CSA on the MOU and to deal with the key elements to enable player contracts to be finalised well in advance of 30th April 2018, being the date on which the majority of player contracts end. In past MOU’s the key elements have always been agreed by the end of February at the latest to ensure a proper player contracting process can take place well in advance of expiry dates. Unfortunately our attempts to date have been met with very little response from CSA and much of our correspondence has gone unanswered.
"We have now reached a point where many of our players could be out of contract in less than two weeks. The effect of this runs across the player group from senior players who play for the Proteas to young players seeking to make their way in franchise cricket.
"The delays have created an environment of uncertainty for players, and also for Franchises who wish to secure their players. This comes at a time when South African cricket needs to do whatever it can to retain its players in the face of competing opportunities afforded to players in the emerging T20 leagues market and also in the UK. A key recommendation of CSA’s National Teams Review Report released last year was the implementation of an effective retention strategy.
"CSA further announced in yesterday’s release that it is willing to extend existing player contracts. This has caused confusion because it doesn’t cater for what is actually happening on the ground for many players. Some players have already been told that they will no longer be contracted, some will be moving between national and franchise contracts, some will be moving between franchises and some will be first time franchise players. Extensions of contract are simply unworkable for all of these players”
"Although CSA now acknowledges in its media statement that concluding the MOU has become a matter of urgency it goes on to suggest that a new agreement may only be finalised in July. We do not understand why such a long further delay may be necessary. We believe that the new MOU is likely to be substantially similar to the existing one in most respects”
"Whilst SACA does not have an issue with clarifying the relationship between it and CSA we urge CSA to prioritise finalising the key elements of the MOU so that there is a greater degree of certainty and security for players going forward. Our players deserve that.”
"Should an interim arrangement be necessary because finalisation of all the key elements can’t now be done by 30th April, then we believe that this needs to be agreed with SACA, before any further media statements are made, to ensure that it is workable and that it aligns with, and feeds into, the MOU once finalised."