Liam Brickhill is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent
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The South African Cricketers Association (SACA) has threatened legal action against Cricket South Africa (CSA) over alleged breaches of agreement related to CSA's decision to radically restructure domestic cricket.
From 2021, CSA is planning to scrap the franchise system, reverting to the provincial model in domestic cricket as part of austerity measures designed to offset projected losses of R 654 million (USD 45 million approx) over the next four years. But SACA has repeatedly expressed concerns over the plan, insisting that it had not been properly consulted or given the relevant financial information regarding the challenges CSA is facing.
SACA, through its lawyers, addressed a letter to CSA on Friday detailing its grievances, with SACA saying its concerns over the restructuring exercise "have simply been ignored by CSA".
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"We reiterate our concerns around the financial position and around a decision, which has significant consequences both for the game and the players, taken without regard to our agreements and without following the consultation process specifically provided for in our Recognition Agreement," SACA president Omphile Ramela said.
"SACA cares about the financial sustainability of the game, and this is not only about what happens next year but also about the years to come. Our concerns relating to this have simply been ignored by CSA.
"We also care about ensuring the best possible domestic structure for the players and the game and believe that this should be the subject of proper consultation and agreement instead of there being a decision, which will have significant consequences, forced on us and the players."
SACA's statement marks the latest episode in a spat that has rumbled on since CSA announced the restructuring plan in early April.
The relationship between the two organisations hit a new low when SACA claimed that its chief executive Tony Irish had been barred from attending a meeting at which the changes to domestic cricket were discussed. While SACA's latest move has made clear its willingness to take legal action against CSA, Irish said the organisation is still open to engaging CSA on the relevant issues.
"Our lawyers have made it clear to CSA that its failure to comply with our agreements may well lead to legal action," Irish said. "At the same time, we are open to finding responsible solutions to the financial challenges facing cricket and to ensuring the best outcomes from a cricket point of view. We have invited CSA to engage in mediation on the issues. If CSA fails to comply and does not accept our invitation to mediate, SACA will be compelled to take the legal route."
A CSA spokesperson, meanwhile, told ESPNcricinfo it was "unfortunate that SACA chose to issue a press release as a means of communicating with CSA." The spokesperson added that no letter had yet been received as of Friday evening. "We have noted the same this Friday evening and will respond shortly."