CSA courts government scrutiny over T20 league

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

Cricket South Africa has run into more trouble in their efforts to get a T20 league up and running.

The country's minster for sports, Tokozile Xasa, has been asked to consider issuing a moratorium on the board, preventing them from making any announcements regarding the tournament until they appear before the parliamentary committee for sports and recreation.

This request, delivered by letter on Monday morning, was made by Darren Bergman, the deputy shadow minister of sports and recreation and has been seen by ESPNcricinfo. Bergman asserts that the damage CSA have already suffered and the risks of greater financial losses are sufficient for parliament to demand assurances from the board that they can get a T20 competition up and running without any further hiccups.

"While I do not believe that politicians should interfere in the running of sports and that we are best placed to play a supportive role, I am concerned that Cricket SA has the potential to risk major reputational and financial loss both to the sports as well as to the players and sponsors. This could have a negative impact locally and internationally," Bergman's letter reads. His comments were in reference to the legal action CSA is facing over the postponed GLT20.

At least four owners have threatened CSA with legal action and reserved their rights to a team in the new T20 competition, despite the board announcing a new equity deal with broadcaster SuperSport. That deal is now believed to have fallen through, with SuperSport reportedly happy to telecast matches but averse to holding a 49% stake in the tournament.

CSA's board met in the weekend, planning to make an announcement on the future of their 20-over competition in the next two weeks, but if Bergaman's request is successful, they will need to appear before parliament first. Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, Bergman said forcing to CSA to delay any further announcement would be "responsible rather than reckless."

CSA were due to address the parliamentary committee on Tuesday but asked for an extension while it prepares for next month's AGM. If a moratorium comes in place - and Bergman hopes to hear back in the next few days - CSA may hasten their appearance in parliament. Then they need to satisfy the committee that they can conduct the 20-over tournament smoothly, despite the legal battles looming, the lack of a sponsor and the uncertainty over SuperSport's role. All of this points to a likelihood that this new T20 league might be postponed as well, with the current six-team franchise competition continuing as usual.