JOHANNESBURG – Cricket South Africa risks angering thousands of Proteas fans if proposals which could see the New Year’s Test and the “Pink ODI” moved away from Newlands and the Wanderers respectively go through.
In what amounts to a crass money-making scheme CSA’s management is pushing its provincial affiliates to obtain financial backing from local municipalities and then bid for some of South Africa’s marquee cricket events, including the always popular New Year’s Test match and the Pink ODI which has rapidly grown in popularity since first being played eight years ago.
An email from CSA’s Chief Financial Officer, Nassei Appiah to all of CSA’s provincial affiliates outlines a ploy whereby cricket unions in partnership with local municipalities would bid for the right to host international matches. The email is titled “Partnerships with Cities in hosting of cricket events – England and Australia Tours 2019/20 and beyond.”
“CSA Management believes that in order to also generate revenues from the hosting of these cricket events, Cities should be approached and requested to competitively bid for the sort after (sic) matches (particularly England, India and Australia),” writes Appiah.
The same email provides what Appiah calls “notes” to help unions in their negotiations with municipalities for their support.
“These notes paint a picture of economic benefits that will accrue to Cities as a consequence of events and makes a case for their involvement.”
In theory the proposal by CSA’s Management could mean the Border Cricket Union, linking up with the East London city council to bid to host the New Year’s Test, and if that bid is bigger than Cape Town’s, next season’s New Year’s Test could be held at Buffalo Park. The same would hold true for the Pink ODI, which could, if the Erkurhuleni Metro gives backing to Easterns Cricket Union, be held in Benoni.
The email further presses unions to make approaches to municipalities a matter of urgency as “many are currently preparing their annual budget.”
“Thus is it would be convenient that they are approached at this stage, so they could factor cricket events into their budgets.”
As a result of this new plan, the release of the schedule for next season’s international fixtures, which includes a four-match Test series with England will be delayed. That tour is always a lucrative one for unions given the large supporter tours that accompany the English team.
The proposal is essentially an attempt by CSA to shore up its finances which have taken a massive blow recently largely because of the failure first to host the T20 Global League and then the subsequent creation the Mzansi Super League, both of which led to combined losses of about R300million.
At its appearance before the parliamentary portfolio committee on Sport and Recreation last October, CSA admitted that for the four-year period between April 2018 and April 2022 it was budgeting for losses in the region of R654m. Many insiders claim that figure is actually closer to the R900m mark.
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Appiah writes that if the plan takes off it would “ease (the) strain on our fiscus as costs that would have been absorbed by Cities could be deployed elsewhere.” CSA are also currently in negotiations with SuperSport over its next broadcast deal, which CSA needs to help further alleviate some of the financial stress it is currently facing.
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