Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat explained on Tuesday that Cricket South Africa (CSA) have said no to the idea of increasing the number of franchises.
That’s because they want to give more attention to the semi-professional level – the feeder system for the franchises.
There has been speculation over the last couple of years that the number of franchises would be increased from six to either seven or eight.
But Lorgat said this has now been put on the backburner, with CSA deciding instead to focus on the next level down.
“The decision actually came out of our domestic review, which was a very detailed report and indicated that there is work to be done at the semi-professional level. We are open-minded about it and there might come a day when we move from six franchises,” he said.
“But extra franchises have got to be sustainable and we’re only now at the point where each franchise is, at the very worst, breaking even. I expect them all to announce surpluses at the end of this financial year at the end of the month. But now we want to grow the base and what we now call semi-professional, we want to make that professional.”
Lorgat, speaking at the launch of the Africa Cup 2017 at the Wanderers on Tuesday, added: “At the moment there are only seven full-time contracts per provincial team in the system. It’s arguable whether players are able to sustain themselves on those contracts. So we want to lift that up and we will take the same money we would have used for a seventh franchise to uplift semi-pro cricket.”
An exodus of players to earn pounds in English cricket has taken its toll on the South African game, and Lorgat said CSA hoped raising the standard and lucrativeness of cricket below franchise level would encourage players to stay.
“If we can raise the competitive nature of that cricket then we can use that tier to hopefully sustain guys until they get a crack at franchise level,” he said.