Johannesburg – Cricket SA (CSA) should know by the end of next month if the Global T20 tournament, the start of which was suspended last year, will go ahead.
So said acting chief executive Thabang Moroe, adding that CSA was in the final stages of negotiating with broadcasters and “should make an announcement soon”.
A failure to sell the broadcast rights for the tournament had been blamed for scuppering what would have been South Africa’s reply to competitions such as the Indian Premier League and Australia’s Big Bash.
“We’re still looking at making next month’s deadline,” said Moroe.
“We sat with Sony, our international broadcast partner, and SuperSport recently, and have asked our media partners IMG to help us source broadcasting revenue.
“We’re pushing as hard as we can, but, timing-wise, it’s been a bit of a nightmare for us because the negotiations have coincided with our financial
year-end, trying to sign a memorandum of understanding with the players’ association and dealing with the future tours programme. With luck, once we have sourced the revenue and the board agrees, we can confirm by the end of May.”
Although he said the postponement of the tournament wouldn’t be indefinite, he cautiously explained that the inaugural season wouldn’t necessarily take place this year.
“It will definitely go ahead, but whether it goes ahead this year or next will be dictated by timing and the revenue we get. We could announce [a broadcast deal] in May, but if we don’t have enough revenue, we won’t go ahead,” said Moroe.
The failure of the Global T20 to commence as planned last year has cost CSA dearly, with the losses – which include compensating the players contracted in the draft – reportedly climbing as high as R180 million. This is why there is so much caution this time around.
“It will depend on where we are in terms of the sponsorship deal we’ve sourced,” said Moroe.
“We’d still have to go back to the finance committee and, if we are short, they can either decide to lend us the money or tell us to go back and source more funding.”
Moroe denied the rumour that three title sponsors were ready to sign on for last year’s tournament before previous chief executive Haroon Lorgat, who was given the task of sourcing funding for the competition, parted ways with CSA, supposedly due to a lack of movement on the commercial front.
“I really can’t answer for them, but all I can say is, if you look at the sponsors people are talking about, do they sponsor any other entities outside India? The answer is they sponsor tournaments only if Indian players are playing and there are no Indian players in our competition.”
Moroe said there would definitely be changes to what the rules of engagement were for the tournament last year, the most fundamental of which is that there will be transformation targets, which were not a prerequisite last year.
But there are still questions as to whether there would be any changes on the private ownership front.
“The board has told us to get revenue and try to get private involvement. We need to secure enough revenue for them to recoup their investment,” he said.