T20 League on the ropes, but CSA marches on

Thabang Moroe (Gallo)
Thabang Moroe (Gallo)

Cape Town - Cricket South Africa (CSA) says plans to launch its groundbreaking, yet troubled, T20 League at the end of the year are still on track despite Tuesday's news that an equity partnership with SuperSport had fallen through

The T20 Global League, originally planned for December 2017, was scrapped just weeks before it was due to begin as the CSA board pulled the plug amid concerns on financial sustainability in the absence of a broadcast deal. 

It was a decision that ultimately cost then-CEO Haroon Lorgat his job. 

This year, under the new leadership of Thabang Moroe, CSA has re-committed to the tournament, though it has been reduced from eight to six teams and will also have a name change. 

The tournament is due to get underway in November of this year, but CSA has been running into stumbling block after stumbling block along the way. 

At least four of the previous Global League owners are reportedly threatening legal action against CSA after they were informed that there were no guarantees that they would be owners in the new tournament. 

Then, in June this year, CSA announced that it had joined forces with SuperSport to finally launch a "world-class T20 competition to a South African and global audience". 

Both CSA and SuperSport were to be shareholders of the tournament, forming a company called Newco. CSA was to be the majority shareholder, but both parties would pump money into the product. 

Now, just over two months later, that deal has fallen through completely and CSA and Moroe are on the ropes. 

"The Newco has fallen away completely," SuperSport's PR officer Sandile Luthuli told Sport24 on Wednesday.

"We're still in discussions with them (CSA) regarding the broadcast deal, so we definitely want to continue our partnership with them.

"It's a pity that we couldn't come to an agreement over the equity deal."

Luthuli could not go into the specifics of what saw the equity deal fall away.

"It was an ongoing discussion with them trying to find a way to go ahead, but eventually we couldn't agree on a way forward, so we had to walk away from the deal," he said.

A CSA insider, meanwhile, confirmed that the partnership with SuperSport was still intact. 

It needs to be, because CSA is now desperate, as it was in 2017, to secure a broadcaster. 

"The discussions are happening right now, so we're still quite early. Whenever a decision is reached, we will announce," Luthuli said of the broadcast deal.

"It's still a good relationship. We never walked away completely."

CSA would not comment further on the matter.

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