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Cricket South Africa joins forces with SuperSport for new T20 league

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has teamed up with rights partner, pay-television broadcaster SuperSport, to announce the launch of a new “world-class” Twenty20 competition following the collapse of previous efforts to form a T20 Global League.

The two parties hailed a “ground-breaking” agreement through which a new company will be formed in which both CSA and SuperSport will be shareholders. CSA will hold the majority share, but both shareholders will contribute capital to fund the Newco. SuperSport will broadcast the competition throughout sub- Saharan Africa and the adjacent islands and provide a broadcast feed to international broadcasters. 

The inaugural event will be played during November and December this year, with further details to be revealed. Commenting on the agreement, CSA acting chief executive Thabang Moroe said: “We have put the problems we experienced with the proposed Global T20 League behind us and look forward to hosting the new competition. This event will create wonderful opportunities for local players… to hone their white-ball skills.”

While not providing specific figures, Moroe said the deal represents “the biggest in the history of South African domestic cricket, which will ensure the welfare of the game in South Africa.”

Gideon Khobane, chief executive of SuperSport, added: “CSA has been an outstanding partner of SuperSport’s for many years. This agreement sees our relationship taken to the next level, where we will pool our mutual resources in a partnership which will create high-quality cricket and provide entertaining content for cricket fans locally and broadcast viewers both domestically and globally. To have Proteas and international stars competing together with local talent will improve the quality of T20 cricket produced by South Africa.”

In October, the inaugural season of CSA’s T20 Global League was postponed for one year until November 2018 just days after the national governing body revealed that it was set to post a significant loss on the launch edition of the tournament.

In September, Haroon Lorgat, who spearheaded the concept of the tournament, left his role as CSA chief executive. It was left to Lorgat’s acting successor, Moroe, to explain that CSA could register a loss of up to $25m on the inaugural tournament – eating into more than half of the governing body’s cash reserves. SuperSport had not been involved in the original venture as CSA sought a separate rights partner.

The T20 Global League was due to include eight franchises, seven of which would have been foreign owned. The ESPNcricinfo website said none of these stakeholders will be involved in the new project, with Moroe stating they have been refunded their deposits of $250,000 even though CSA had initially sought to engage them about remaining involved.