75 SA cricketers will lose their contracts under new CSA restructuring

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has endorsed a new domestic cricket structure that will see the current franchise system scrapped. Seventy-five South African domestic cricketers will lose their contracts in a restructuring that will dissolve the six-team franchise system which has been in place for 17 seasons. A new set-up, which will consist of 15 first-class teams playing in two tiers, will come into place in the summer of 2021-22.

The new system will consist of two divisions, split 8-7, and will include promotion and relegation. The divisional split will be decided by a bidding system which will require further explaining by the governing body in order to make sense. CSA’s interim board and members’ council – the body made up of the 14 provincial presidents, which is the highest decision-making authority in the country’s game – endorsed the changes on the recommendation of former ICC CEO David Richardson’s task team and after consultation with the South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA).

The new system will see a total of 205 players contracted (16 to each of the eight Division 1 teams and 11 to each of the seven Division 2 teams) which is 75 fewer than the current 280, across six franchises and 13 semi-professional provincial teams.

However, CSA believes the new system will provide more opportunities for players to compete at the level just below international cricket and in turn, provide the national selectors with a wider talent pool to pick from. “This new structure will better serve our transformation goals which includes providing increased playing opportunities at the highest domestic level,” Judge Zak Yacoob, interim board chairperson, said.

“It is CSA’s prerogative and right to change the system. They consulted with us and the consultation process was comprehensive. We looked across 10 difference models,” Andrew Breetzke, SACA CEO, told ESPNcricinfo. “Seventy-five players losing their contracts is a concern but for the past year, we’ve been informing players that we believe the system will get smaller, for a variety of reasons. Covid-19 is one of them and the restructure is another.”

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