Champions Twenty20 League August 8, 2008

CSA calls for regulation of Twenty20 tournaments

Ken Borland

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Twenty20 riches for CSA
  • The Twenty20 game will continue to be a tremendous earnings coup for Cricket South Africa, with a projected earning of Rand 50 million from the Champions Twenty20 league. Prof Hentie van Wyk, the board's treasurer, had warned last year that the organisation was entering two lean years due to the relatively unattractive teams touring South Africa and thus earning less from television rights. The board has also announced a Rand16 million loss for the last financial year. In fact, CSA had budgeted for a loss of Rand 71 million so the loss of a quarter of that amount is actually quite a success. It is also sitting with very healthy cash reserves of Rand 154 million so it is hardly under threat financially.
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Norman Arendse, the president of Cricket South Africa (CSA), has called for better regulation of Twenty20 cricket so that it doesn't override other formats of the game. His comments come a day after ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat told Cricinfo the world body was re-thinking its own role in light of the proliferation of Twenty20 tournaments.

Speaking at CSA's annual meeting in Johannesburg on Friday, Arendse also revealed CEO Gerald Majola was in talks with Cricket Australia over the formation of a Twenty20 competition along the lines of the Super 14 rugby tournament, contested between clubs from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

"Twenty20 is a very popular concept, but we need to manage and contain it," Arendse said. "Private entrepreneurs see it as an opportunity to make money, but we need to preserve the integrity of the game and make sure it is played on an organised and controlled basis."

CSA are moving quickly to immerse themselves in the newest format of the game, with earnings from the Champions League - in which two teams from South Africa will take part - projected at Rand 50 million [USD6.8 million] a year. A host of bilateral and trilateral agreements are being negotiated with Australia and India.

"India have the money and the audience, but they need us because we have player power; we have some of the best cricketers in the world," Arendse said. "There is an issue around the timing, but the Champions League is a fantastic idea and there is a lot of money at stake."

Arendse also spoke about sharing the wealth from such tournaments, a point made by his Sri Lankan counterpart Arjuna Ranatunga. "The IPL was a tremendous success and it was huge for the players. We released them to play in it, but it didn't bring back a cent to us. Hopefully the Champions League will be payback for us."

He asked the ICC to regulate the formation of multiple cricket leagues within member nations, following the dispute between the Indian Premier League and the Indian Cricket League that has affected the game globally. The ICL has not been sanctioned by cricket boards world over and with the exception of England. ICL recruits have been barred from their respective domestic tournaments.

"The IPL/ICL issue still haunts us and we need to manage better the formation of two domestic leagues in the same country," Arendse, who is a member of an ICC committee on the issue, said. "It could happen tomorrow to any of the other member countries of the ICC and, like FIFA (the football federation), we need to have every aspect of the game fully regulated.

"At the moment, the member countries are left to be autonomous and to decide for themselves what they want to do domestically, but the impact of those decisions affects cricket globally."