CSA won't say why they rejected US$70-million offer for T20 league

Thabang Moroe (Acting CEO of CSA) during 2017 T20 Ram Slam Sponsorship Announcement at SuperSport Studio, Johannesburg South Africa on 07 November 2017.
Thabang Moroe (Acting CEO of CSA) during 2017 T20 Ram Slam Sponsorship Announcement at SuperSport Studio, Johannesburg South Africa on 07 November 2017.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Not only did Cricket South Africa (CSA) reject an offer to earn US$70-million for 11 years from their troubled T20 league‚ they didn’t say why.

Instead‚ CSA are trying to reinvent the competition and have acquired SuperSport as a minority shareholder in that cause.

No other details on the new tournament‚ which was to have been played last November and December and was postponed for a year when CSA discovered it would lose millions because of the lack of a broadcaster and sponsors‚ have been revealed.

And that as four of the eight owners of the original franchises have expressed their unhappiness with the board’s handling of the situation‚ three of them threatening legal action.

One of those owners‚ Hiren Bhanu of the Pretoria Mavericks‚ told SowetanLIVE he proposed to pay CSA US$70-million — the equivalent‚ at Tuesday’s exchange rate‚ of R926 450 000 — to own and run the league for 11 years.

CSA would thus bear none of the financial risks.

Bhanu‚ a UK-based Indian businessman‚ made his offer in March‚ and says communication he had with board members and executives indicated it would be positively received.

But he says he was never given the chance to make a presentation to the board in person.

In June he received a letter‚ which has been seen by SowetanLIVE‚ from CSA’s then acting chief executive‚ Thabang Moroe.

“The CSA board and its members’ council has considered your proposal to privatise the league for a definite period in exchange for a guaranteed fee to CSA‚” Moroe wrote.

“Much as all the proposals that were received were compelling and well-presented‚ including yours‚ unfortunately they were not favorably considered.”

Since then‚ Bhanu says‚ “I have yet to be given a reason why.”

Asked directly on Monday why Bhanu had been turned down‚ CSA reiterated what was already known instead of answering the question.

“CSA has in writing thanked all prospective buyers for their interest in the league and have also communicated their decision in selecting the SS [SuperSport] equity model‚” the board’s statement read.

Bhanu became involved with the league after it emerged that Osman Osman‚ who had been named as the Mavericks’ owner‚ did not have the US$50-million required to own a franchise for 10 years‚ as per the competition’s original rules.

Haroon Lorgat and Venu Nair‚ Bhanu says‚ asked him to step into the breach.

Lorgat has lost his job as CSA’s chief executive in the fallout from the failure of the tournament’s inaugural edition‚ and it seems CSA have cut ties with Nair‚ whose newly formed company‚ Ortus Sport and Entertainment‚ had been tasked with selling the rights for the tournament

Osman has retained a small share in the Mavericks.

CSA have refunded the owners’ deposits of US$250 000‚ but with only 3.5% interest‚ and are trying to sell the competition as a new event.

But half the owners insist they have not given up their rights to a franchise.

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