T20 Global League expected to be postponed

Cricket South Africa President Chris Nenzani speaks at the inaugural player draft of the T20 Global League 

Cricket South Africa (CSA) will hold a teleconference this morning, in which a decision is expected to be made on the immediate future of the T20 Global League. According to at least one franchise owner, it is even possible that the tournament, which was due to start its inaugural edition on November 3, could be postponed.

With less than a month to go before kickoff, the event has faced numerous logistical challenges, not least the inability to secure a broadcast deal or a title sponsor resulting in hefty financial losses. Though local broadcaster SuperSport is understood to have been close to putting pen to paper, the deal was going to be worth much less than CSA anticipated.

Last week, acting CSA CEO Thabang Moroe told reporters that CSA was bracing for a $25 million loss on the first edition of the tournament, which amounts to half of the organisation’s cash reserves. He also provided an assurance that the tournament would go ahead as planned.

Moroe took over from Haroon Lorgat, who parted ways with CSA on September 28, after his relationship with the board became untenable. The board’s unhappiness with Lorgat’s methods of organisation of the T20 Global League was one of the reasons for his departure but one of the GLT20 franchise owners told ESPNcricinfo that Lorgat’s absence had created “much bigger challenges” in putting together the T20 Global League because he was its driving force.

“When you know that something is not right then you should not do it. We are half-prepared and it will be a bigger disaster if we go this way,” the owner said.

There is no indication that any of the current owners, seven of whom are from overseas, will withdraw from the event. Moroe has met with the franchise owners on at least one occasion and was confident they remained committed to putting the tournament together. However, it appears the time-frame is too short to put together an event of the quality CSA and the owners wanted.

Should the GLT20 not take place this year, it will leave an enormous gap in the South African cricket calendar. For six weeks in peak summer, neither the national team nor the domestic franchises will be in action, after CSA created a gap in the calendar for the event. Zimbabwe are due to visit South Africa over Boxing Day for a four-day, day-night match that is awaiting Test status, with means that after Bangladesh’s tour ends on October 29, South Africans will not see any live home cricket until December 26, unless a contingency plan is made.

With inputs from Umar Farooq and George Dobell

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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