Johannesburg - Cricket SA (CSA) has made assurances that the owners of the T20 Global League - the proposed money-spinner that did not take off last year because of a failure to sell broadcasting rights - are on the verge of being paid back their deposits and expenses with interest.
So said CSA president Chris Nenzani.
He confirmed on Saturday that the only sticking point in negotiations was what constituted reasonable expenses incurred by the owners in preparing for a tournament that ended up being postponed to this year.
Nenzani was responding to questions on whether he was aware the owners were on the brink of taking the legal route to recover their money after Global T20 was dissolved as a company and protracted negotiations had come to naught.
“We are talking to them,” said Nenzani. “We have no desire not to return the deposit and interest plus reasonable costs, but we need to define what reasonable is in terms of refunding of costs.
“As soon as we come to an agreement ... we will pay them.”
But the impression given by one of the eight owners, who spoke to City Press on condition of anonymity given the understanding they were collectively going to sue CSA, was that matters had not gone as swimmingly as Nenzani said.
The owner said acting CSA chief executive Thabang Moroe had given them assurances for five months that they would be paid, but then he was removed from the negotiations in favour of board members Iqbal Khan and Louis von Zeuner, who, according to the owner, wanted to negotiate for CSA to pay only 50% of what it owed.
The owner claimed that one of them - Kolkata Knight Riders boss Shah Rukh Khan - had, like the players and the coaches who had been appointed and drafted for the competition, been refunded his deposit of $250 000 (R3.1 million) thanks to an administrative error, with the other seven still waiting for their money.
“All we’re asking for are our deposits back and expenses made on behalf of our teams,” said the owner, who claimed his costs were between $400 000 and $500 000.
“Moroe had agreed five months ago that the CSA would pay, but people on the board seem to be going back on whatever promises he made.”
Nenzani was under the impression that more than one owner had been paid.
“The problem is I don’t know who you’re talking to. There’s no issue with the deposit and interest; the issue is reasonable expenses and, once we agree on that, we’ll pay them back as soon as our internal processes have taken place. This is not our money, we have no desire not to pay it back,” Nenzani said.
But the owner still insisted the only reason the CSA felt pressured to reimburse the franchise
owners was because it had been sent a legal notice and was given a 10-day deadline to respond, and its response had been to “ask for more time” through Khan.
Incredibly, Nenzani said the CSA was “95% ready” to launch another competition in November to replace the Global T20.
A new format and business plan is being presented to the affiliate presidents for approval on Friday.