Town - Cricket
South Africa (CSA) says it is not experiencing a financial
crisis, but rather taking the responsible steps needed to avoid one.
It has been a testing week for
CEO Thabang Moroe and his team
following confirmation last weekend that the CSA board had approved a drastic
restructure of the country's domestic cricket scene.
Franchise cricket is on its way
out and at the end of the 2019/2020 season domestic cricket will move to a more
traditional set-up were 12
provincial regions do battle.
While the new structure will see
more than 70 new professional
contracts awarded, the plan is that the new structure will save CSA money and
that is the main driving force behind the change.
At present, CSA pays each of the
six franchises around R15 million
per year while they must also fund the
14 semi-professional sides that play in three separate competitions
It is not only the wage bill at a
semi-professional level that is hurting CSA, but also the logistical burdens
that come with flights, hotels and catering.
By moving from 20 functioning
sides to 12, CSA is expecting there to be around 90 less matches under their banner per season and that is what is
expected to cut costs significantly.
At a press conference in
Johannesburg on Friday, the CSA leadership sought to explain their financial
position and the restructure.
According to acting chief
financial officer Ziyanda Nkuta, CSA
had been expecting to record a loss of R654 million over the next four-year
period but that, with the restructure, that figure would come all the way down
to around R200 million.
"It's important to state
that we are not recovering from anything. What we are doing is seeing an
iceberg in front of us at CSA and we are steering our ship before we hit it.
Our finances remain strong. We just want to make sure that we continue to
remain strong," Moroe explained.
The South African Cricketers
Association (SACA) had expressed concern at the financial forecasts and said in
the week that no restructure could happen without their blessing given last
year's Memorandum of Understanding with CSA, but the message on Friday from
CSA's head of pathways Corrie van Zyl was very different.
"We have engaged with SACA
on the restructure and they have in principal supported us, although as a
collective we need to work out the finer details," Van Zyl said, in direct
contrast to suggestions from SACA this week that they had not been engaged at
Moroe also said the restructure
had received full backing from all six franchise CEOs, though at this stage
none of the franchises have commented publicly.
"We'll be sitting again in
the near future to see how we can assist them (the franchises) in keeping their
current sponsors and how to grow cricket commercially," Moroe said.
"The entire franchise system
has become a heavy burden, so we are saying that we must not wait too long to
The Mzansi Super League (MSL),
meanwhile, has not been included in CSA's projections.
According to Moroe, the MSL
suffered a loss of around R80 million
in its inaugural edition in 2018 while it is expected to lose R209 million over its first four years.
Nkuta is adamant, however, that
CSA is in good financial shape.
"It's been incorrectly
reported in the media that CSA is in a financial crisis," she said.
"That's incorrect. CSA is
financially stable. What has happened is that we forecast on a four-year cycle
from one year to another in terms of what we see in revenues, and we are acting
as a responsible business.
"We've got healthy cash
reserves and healthy investments which are still performing well ... we're just
trying to make sure that cricket stays sustainable."