Embattled Cricket South Africa (CSA) insist that they will not be bullied by threats of legal action from disgruntled franchise owners of the failed T20 Global League (T20GL).
The local governing body on Wednesday stated that it “doesn’t intend to debate the matter through the media” after Ajay Sethi, chairman of the Nelson Mandela Bay Stars franchise, joined other investing parties in contemplating legal action over how the fallout from the cancelled tournament has been handled.
CSA abandoned the venture after making an initial loss of R180 million but three weeks ago announced a new tournament that is co-owned by its board and SuperSport.
That arrangement has owners of T20GL teams fuming.
“We were very happy that the SuperSport deal was the way forward for all of us, but it was shocking to hear that CSA had another agenda by putting owners out of the league,” Sethi said in a statement.
“CSA seems to have a different plan to remove the owners and then do the media deal.
“This is totally unethical and no federation will do that in any part of the world. We would like to know how can SuperSport sign the deal immediately after the termination letter was sent to us?”
CSA has already forked out another R42 million to refund owners their deposits as well as expenses.
Yet, three franchises – Nelson Mandela Bay, Durban Qalanders and Pretoria Mavericks – don’t necessarily want their money back.
Sethi in particular believes that they still own the rights to have a slice of the action – meaning they want to remain involved and share in any potential profits.
In response, CSA said they first need to get other priorities in order before they can discuss whether the previous eight franchise owners will still have a stake in the tournament.
“CSA indicated from the (outset) that the key revenue streams must first be secured regarding broadcasting rights and potential sponsors before detail of the tournament can be finalised,” the federation said.
“Once that (has) taken place, engagement with other stakeholders will be possible.”
That seems unlikely to cut any ice with the T20GL owners, who now believe CSA can’t be trusted anymore.