So, in just two years from now there will no longer be the Titans, the Highveld Lions, the Cape Cobras, et al, all because Cricket South Africa (CSA), the sport’s governing body in the country, just can’t afford to have them around anymore.
And it has since decided, unilaterally, to do away with the franchises and instead introduce (word has it that it’s actually re-introducing) a 12-team provincial structure, all in the name of softening the blow on its purse. Word also has it that the CSA has already conceded to Parliament’s portfolio committee on sport and recreation that it is going to continue moving in a backward direction, profit-wise, in the four-year period between 2018 and 2022, and so it is because of that very reason that it has sought to employ (no sarcasm intended) cost-cutting measures.
The provincial teams will then replace the six franchises in the local cricket landscape, says the plan, and will compete for tournaments which are yet to be decided on.
From what I gather, the plan is still quite sketchy, so don’t ask me how having more teams than that which currently exist is going to save money.
What I do have an opinion on, though, is the sad fact that sports fans are yet again subjected to coming to terms with the demise of their favourite clubs, all because an organization’s coffers are running dry. What then of us, the fans, who have invested so much in these franchises, emotionally and financially?
Must we just accept that we are now forced to bid them goodbye, that we are no longer going to see them ever again? That the regalia we bought with our hard-earned cash will soon be reduced to things that represent defunct organizations? That is just too much of an emotional burden.
It’s similar to how, in football, clubs sell their statuses to the highest bidder in order to make money. Embarrassingly, that sometimes means a club will give up its Premier division status and switch to the lower tiers, or not gain that promotion after all because someone else feels they deserve it more, having failed to prove it in on the pitch.
I wish the suits would think of us a bit more before making these decisions. I understand that money is an essential resource for any organization’s survival, but I feel that other means of making it and/or bringing down the rate of its exiting the coffers must be carefully considered before deciding to do as they please with our clubs.