Cricket South Africa has come under the most sustained attack yet for its handling of the T20 Global League's cancellation and subsequent replacement with a tournament co-owned with pay-television broadcaster SuperSport.
Sushil Kumar, chairman of *Hong Kong-based City Sports Ltd, who had successfully bid for the Bloemfontein City Blazers, accused CSA of dishonesty, miscommunication and manipulation in its dealings since the tournament's failure to launch. It is the strongest of the statements of three franchises over the saga so far.
According to Kumar:
Following the postponement of the inaugural edition of the Global League T20 in October last year, there was a "lack of a proper response", by CSA to the owners.
He made two trips to meet with CSA officials, in February and May 2018. During the first trip, Kumar said he got the "feeling... that the Board members were being fed false information with regards to the owners' intentions going forward and the Board was informed that all owners wanted out, thus, the model of private ownership was off the table." When the owners clarified their interest, CSA announced its intention to "renegotiate revised financial and operational terms", according to Kumar. He alleges that "certain individuals", who were not named, "had their own agendas and tried to manipulate the process".
Kumar then sent an email seeking a second meeting with the "executive office" but received no response. "No one from CSA's Executive Office was ready to meet or have the courtesy to speak with us and it was quite an embarrassment for us to keep pushing CSA just for an audience having travelled all the way from our home country, just to resolve issues which were never caused by us."
In between, CSA held a teleconference with the owners on March 13. "It was decided by all parties that CSA would go back to Supersport to discuss; i) a proposal from Supersport on the original model, ii) Supersport should suggest an alternate model if not in favour of the original model or iii) look at a league co-owned between CSA, owners and the broadcaster."
CSA went "behind the owners back and struck a deal with Supersport excluding the current owners and without providing any information on the above said deal". It was "disappointing and very unprofessional that no one at CSA had the decency to contact us first and make us aware of the decision that was taken."
"Vested interests and personality clashes within the management of CSA is only affecting the reputation of the Board."
What Bloem City Blazers want:
"To see the league up and running with the present interested owners."
Who Bloem City Blazers have involved:
While the Durban Qalanders and the Nelson Mandela Bay Stars have both threatened legal action, Bloem City Blazers have had communication with the South African consul general in Hong Kong and Macau. "During this meeting, we expressed our disappointment to the Hon'able Consul General Mr. Ntshinga and Vice Consul Mr. Naidoo. We requested the Consulate to take up the issue with the Ministry of Sport in South Africa," Kumar said.
What do CSA say
In communication with ESPNcricinfo last week, CSA's acting CEO Thabang Moroe said the organisation believed it was "in a partnership," with the former franchise owners and "would ideally like to retain the relationship in case there's an opportunity in selling equity in teams."
Responding to the Nelson Mandela Bay Stars' statement on Wednesday morning, CSA says the board "does not intend to debate the matter through the media and as per our last letter to the owners remain available to any party who wishes to engage in the current process of planning the tournament. CSA indicated from the outset that the key revenue streams must first be secured regarding broadcasting rights and potential sponsors before details of the tournament can be finalised. Once that has taken place, engagement with other stakeholders will be possible."
When the Bloem City Blazers statement came out, a CSA spokesperson said the organisation will "keep to the statement we sent earlier".
*June 28, GMT 0855 The article earlier erroneously stated that City Sports Ltd was Singapore-based.