Civil war erupts in South African cricket

CEO Thabang Moroe of CSA and CEO Tony Irish of SACA during the Cricket South Africa (CSA) and South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) Joint media briefing at CSA Offices on July 31, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)

A day before the Proteas begin their World Cup campaign, the players’ union takes CSA to court.

In what can only be cynically labelled as perfect timing, the Proteas go into Thursday’s World Cup opener against England on the back of administrative chaos.

The South African Cricketers Association (Saca) on Wednesday dropped a bombshell, confirming it’s taking Cricket South Africa (CSA) to court over the governing body’s decision to restructure domestic cricket.

Thabang Moroe, CSA’s chief executive, announced last month they were scrapping the current franchise system – which features six teams – in favour of a reversion to 12 provincial sides.

However, such a move would mean that about 70 current players would be unemployed.

CSA insists they need to find ways to mitigate a massive projected four-year loss of over R650 million, but Saca, which represents 311 players in the country, has reiterated numerous times that no formal consultation ever took place.

It also wants access to CSA’s financial models and data to determine the true state of the game’s finances.

In approaching the High Court in Johannesburg, Saca wants CSA “to show cause why its decision to restructure domestic cricket in South Africa should not be reviewed and set aside”.

“Saca’s application to court follows numerous, unsuccessful attempts by us to get CSA to address our concerns relating to the financial situation in cricket. It also follows clear breaches by CSA of Saca/CSA agreements in taking the decision to restructure domestic cricket,” said the player union’s president, Omphile Ramela.

Tony Irish, Saca’s CEO, noted that the legal process could prove to be a lengthy one.

“CSA will now need to decide on whether or not to oppose our court application and, if it opposes, it will need to file answering papers and Saca will have the right to reply to those. We expect that the legal process, which culminates in the hearing of our application in court, will take about three to four months,” he said.

CSA is yet to comment officially on the matter.

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