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Lawsuit launched after failed South African T20 league

Cricket South Africa has been hit with a lawsuit from a franchise owner of the Twenty20 competition it ultimately aborted in favour of launching the Mzansi Super League (MSL) which is currently taking place.

The ESPNcricinfo website said that Hiren Bhanu, owner of the Pretoria Mavericks in the defunct T20 Global League, is claiming damages of $515,627.91 (€451,660) plus interest and costs of the lawsuit.

In October 2017, 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 2017, Haroon Lorgat, who spearheaded the concept of the tournament, left his role as CSA chief executive. It was left to Lorgat’s acting successor, Thabang 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.

The T20 Global League concept, which involved franchise ownership from several overseas investors, three of whom are owners of Indian Premier League (IPL) teams, was ultimately dropped and there were concerns that a collective claim for damages could be pursued.

At the end of June, CSA is said to have paid Bhanu $179,989.00 as compensation for the initial deposit made towards securing a Global League team license, with that amount having been taken into account in the legal claim.

“We’re going to sue them for damages for the efforts that we put in,” Bhanu told ESPNcricinfo before launching the legal action. “Some people were paid their expenses, and they are happy with that. I’m not happy with that. We just want to be compensated for our time and effort.”

Instead of selling off the franchises, as was the strategy for the Global League, CSA has elected to retain ownership for the MSL. Commenting on the lawsuit, a CSL spokesperson said on Saturday: “We’re not aware of his decision to sue us. Once something official comes our way we’ll then be able to make a comment.”

ESPNcricinfo added that that another former franchise owner is in the process of calculating damages from the failure of the 2017 league, but is open to a financial settlement with CSA, as well as seeking repayment of the deposit for the team.

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