Franchise system dissolved in major SA domestic cricket restructure

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An empty Newlands hosts the first T20 between the Proteas and England (Gallo)
An empty Newlands hosts the first T20 between the Proteas and England (Gallo)
  • South African cricket is set for a major domestic restructure that will see the franchise system dissolved.
  • A total of 15 provincial sides will now operate, split into a first and second division.
  • Promotion and relegation will now apply each season, as is the case in English county cricket. 

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has resolved to accept the recommendations of the David Richardson Task Team to completely restructure the domestic game. 

This follows months of consultation between CSA and the South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA) after a roadmap for the process was initially drawn up in February 2020.  

The roadmap agreement complied with SACA’s requirement to be consulted in terms of the Recognition and Procedural Agreement of July 2018 between SACA and CSA. 

The recommendations from the Richardson report were then presented to the CSA Interim Board which then resolved to recommend its implementation to the Members’ Council, who in turn supported the new domestic cricket structure through the passing of a special resolution.  

Under the new structure, the current six-team franchise cricket make-up will be dissolved and replaced by a 15-team first-class system.

The format will see the teams split 8-7 into a Division 1 and Division 2 arrangement with automatic promotion and relegation to be implemented.

This automatic promotion and relegation system aims to provide healthy tension in the system which will enhance a high performance environment, while providing opportunity for those Division 2 Members, who want to be part of a competitive first division.  

"The resolution to accept and approve the Richardson Committee’s recommendation to restructure the domestic competition is the culmination of a process over many years. It heralds a new era for CSA and its affiliates," acting CSA Members’ Council president, Rihan Richards said.

"I must thank Dave Richardson, his committee, and all who have been involved in the process. The support that the resolution received indicates the buy-in from all the stakeholders and a commitment to strengthening South African cricket. We really hope that the system will improve not only access and opportunity at all levels but will contribute to a sustainable CSA and the game." 

The calendar for Division 1 will be similar to the current system where the eight teams will play four-day, one-day and the Twenty20 cricket (MSL) all in a single round.  

The same eight teams will also compete in a domestic T20 knockout tournament with the seven teams from Division 2, whose season will comprise of a four-day and one-day competition. 

Division 2 players will have an opportunity to play in the MSL via a player draft. Proteas and other international players will also feature in the draft.  

The 8-7 divisional split will be determined by a “bid process” in which each member will be evaluated based on its performance, both current and historical, against defined evaluation criteria, as well as its strategic plan for running and sustaining a professional team within this new professional era at affiliate member level.   

The enhancement will include: an improved contract system, an increase in the number and quality of opportunities as well as an improvement of leadership talent within CSA’s coaching structures. 

The proposed competition structure will offer more opportunities to players at the highest first-class domestic level, essentially widening the talent pool for the national selectors.  

Furthermore, the aim is to also strengthen the development pipeline by offering a clear “line of sight” pathway for all players, wherever they may be based in the country, to progress from club cricket to international cricket.

"After considering the wide-ranging review and consultative process undertaken, the Interim Board recommended adoption of the new domestic cricket structure by the Members’ Council. This new structure will better serve our transformation goals which includes providing increased playing opportunities at the highest domestic level," remarked Interim Board chairperson Judge Zak Yacoob. 

- CSA Media

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