Cricketers’ chief Tony Irish barred from CSA meeting

CEO Tony Irish of SACA during the Cricket South Africa (CSA) and South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) Joint media briefing at CSA Offices on July 31, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
CEO Tony Irish of SACA during the Cricket South Africa (CSA) and South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) Joint media briefing at CSA Offices on July 31, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Relations between administrators and players crashed to a new low on Thursday when Tony Irish was barred from attending a Cricket South Africa (CSA) meeting.

As chief executive of the South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA)‚ Irish is a regular figure at the chief executives’ meeting — which is held two or three times a year and involves the affiliate chief executives‚ CSA’s executive and SACA.

But Irish is not at the current meeting‚ which started at a Sandton hotel on Thursday and will continue on Friday.

Independent sources told TMG Digital that Irish had been barred‚ which Irish confirmed adding: “SACA will make a fuller statement on that at the appropriate time.”

Asked why Irish had been excluded‚ a CSA spokesperson said that “those reasons will be flashed out to the media at [Friday’s] press conference”.

CSA said on Saturday they would implement austerity measures and redesign the domestic game to try and alleviate the effects of what chief executive Thabang Moroe told parliament in October could amount to losses of R654-million over the four-year rights cycle that ends in 2022.

On Sunday Irish voiced SACA’s concerns that CSA had “not properly consulted with the players’ association either on [CSA’s] actual financial position or on any restructuring of the domestic structure”.

The memorandum of understanding between CSA and SACA‚ Irish said‚ “requires actual agreement to any domestic restructure and the player contracts under that structure”. He said that had not happened.

A SACA release on Tuesday quoted their president‚ Omphile Ramela‚ as saying that CSA were ignoring the players’ attempts to engage on the issue.

“SACA has formally written to CSA twice in the last six weeks to express its concerns relating to CSA’s financial position‚” Ramela said.

“To date we haven’t received any reply at all to those letters.”

Irish was quoted as saying that implementing the austerity measures “is likely to lead to at least 70 players losing their contracts and many other players at franchise level having their earnings reduced”.

CSA’s restructuring plan includes dismantling the franchise system of six teams that has served as South Africa’s highest level of domestic cricket since 2004-05 and replacing it with a 12-team provincial structure.

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