Cape Town - The already strained relationship between Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the South African Cricketers Association (SACA) took another turn for the worse on Wednesday with SACA giving notice of a formal dispute against the game's governing body in the country relating to last year's Mzansi Super League (MSL).
The two bodies, already locked in a court battle over CSA's plans to radically change the country's domestic cricket structure, are now at a loggerheads over commercial rights relating to last year's MSL.
Sport24 understands that SACA is seeking a payment of R2.5 million to be made from CSA to the South African Professional Cricketers Trust dating back to an agreement between the parties that SACA says was signed in November 2018.
"In November 2018 SACA, the Players Trust and CSA signed a commercial agreement relating to MSL 2018 in terms of which the players, through the Players Trust, granted commercial rights for use by the league and the teams in the MSL and in return CSA was obliged to pay over amounts to the Players Trust so that the players could be paid for the use of their rights," SACA said in a statement released on Wednesday.
"Unfortunately CSA has persistently refused to pay an agreed amount relating to the use of the players commercial rights and consequently the players have yet to be paid for these," added SACA Chief Executive, Tony Irish.
"This has occurred despite CSA having benefited from the use of the rights in last year’s MSL.
"We have been trying to resolve this with CSA for many months but have now reached the point where formal steps have to be taken as players remain out of pocket."
The agreement was geared towards ensuring that the players in last year's MSL would benefit financially from any revenue generated from their own rights including sponsorships, image rights and media appearances.
This formal dispute is the first step SACA is taking to try and retrieve funds from CSA in this regard. Mediation could follow.
SACA also on Wednesday expressed further frustration at their court application relating to CSA’s decision to restructure domestic cricket.
CSA is looking to expand the system from six franchises to 12 professional provincial sides - a decision that SACA wants overturned based on financial concerns that it has over player contracting and how the change would benefit the game economically in South Africa.
"In normal circumstances one would have expected the court application to be heard in or around October this year," said Irish.
"However failures on the part of CSA to comply with the time periods provided for in the rules of court have led to unnecessary delays.
"CSA also failed to respond for a long period to attempts to establish a process aimed at resolving the issues around the domestic restructure. All of this has obviously been very frustrating for SACA and it creates uncertainty for the players.
"SACA remains committed to the court application as this is necessary to deal with CSA’s decision to unilaterally impose a new domestic structure on the players without consultation and in clear breach of signed agreements between SACA and CSA.
"This imposed structure, if allowed, would lead to a very significant number of provincial players losing their careers as professional cricketers and it would also give rise to the likelihood of substantial cuts in the earnings and benefits of franchises players.
"In addition we believe that it will weaken the standard of our top flight domestic cricket across playing formats, at a time when we can ill afford to do this."
SACA have requested to see exactly how a domestic restructure would be financially viable, but they maintain that they have been excluded from such information.
"None of our concerns on this front have been dealt with," said Irish.
"Instead we are now excluded from attending CSA’s finance and commercial committee meetings.
"I wish to emphasise that despite all of this SACA remains willing to sit down with CSA in a genuine and good faith attempt to resolve these issues.
"We wish to play a responsible role in dealing with the financial picture and we know that many of the issues require mutually agreed solutions. This has to happen however in the context of good faith engagement between us, as the representative of the players, and CSA."
Sport24 contacted CSA for comment on Wednesday afternoon and is awaiting a reply.