The United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) announced that the boards of Griqualand West and Free State have agreed to be partners in a single central franchise. Ray Mali and Gerald Majola, the UCBSA president and chief executive respectively, had presented an agreement proposed by the general council with the aim of promoting cricket in the region.
"We are thrilled that partnership and unity has been achieved for the good of all," Mali has been quoted as saying by the Independent Online. "Our congratulations go out to the two boards for reaching this agreement and for taking cricket forward in the region together".
"Now that they [Griqualand West and Free State] are working together, we can expect this process to improve even further with the region firing on all cylinders," Majola added. "It is also very good news that professional cricket will return to Griqualand West where the passion for the game is huge".
Both Griqualand West and Free State agreed to an equal interest in the central franchise, whose administrative centre will be Bloemfontein. The new board, to be named within the next two weeks, will comprise seven directors - two nominated each by Griqualand West and Free State, and three independents (one by each of the two consented parties and the third nominated by the UCBSA).
Ahmed Jinnah, the Griqualand West president, expressed his pleasure at the deal. "We are pleased that this matter has been satisfactorily resolved," he said. "We must thank Ray Mali and Gerald Majola for their input, as well as all those who have supported us". His opposite number, Charlie Robinson, was equall pleased: "Both boards are committed to going forward together for the good of cricket in the central region and for the good of South African cricket as a whole."