Cricket SA, SACA relationship reaches 'all-time low'
Johannesburg - Cricket South Africa's (CSA) new dawn officially got underway on Tuesday when the organisation's most powerful man, CEO Thabang Moroe, addressed media on his home turf at CSA headquarters in Melrose.
As from now, Moroe finds himself at the top of the pile when it comes to all things CSA and he can take decisions without taking them to the board for approval.
The appointment of a new team director, for example, will be made by acting director Corrie Van Zyl with Moroe signing off. The board will play no role.
The linear hierarchical system has the potential to see action taken a lot more swiftly, but it also places significant power in the hands of one man at a time when CSA faces uncertainty both on and off the field.
Near the top of Tuesday's discussion was the strained relationship between CSA and the South African Cricketers Association (SACA).
Moroe is pushing forward with the proposed change to South Africa's domestic structure and an increase to 12 professional unions, but he has been met with firm resistance from SACA, who have demanded to see detailed financials explaining how such a decision would work before agreeing that a restructure should happen.
A court battle is ongoing.
The relationship, already strained, took another blow when Moroe suggested on Tuesday that he sees the players' body having less of a say in professional matters moving forward.
He wants communication with players to improve, for them to 'behave in a certain way' when representing CSA and to take back the responsibility of player welfare from SACA.
He insists that SACA still has a key role to play in South African cricket and is hopeful that issues between the parties will be resolved, but that is clearly still some way off.
Talks with SACA CEO Tony Irish, Moroe said, are ongoing and another meeting with him is currently being planned.
Moroe also suggested that SACA had agreed to the domestic restructure, but that they were still not happy with not having received the "finer details".
"SACA agreed to all the pointers we put on the table for the domestic restructure, but what they haven’t agreed to from a consultation point of view was the level of detail given to them by CSA," Moroe said.
"From CSA's point of view, we have explained why we have given them the detail we have and not as much as they wanted to see."
"They are still not happy with the level of detail, but the restructure is something that they have endorsed."
Speaking to Sport24 on Wednesday morning, however, Irish insisted that the players' body had absolutely not endorsed the restructure and that they would not be able to until CSA's financials were made available in detail, which is the purpose of the court action.
Moroe went on to suggest that he saw SACA's role diminishing in the future. Some of their responsibilities, he said, were duties that CSA leadership needed to take upon themselves.
"There has been a disconnect between the organisation (CSA) and the players, but the players are not to blame," Moroe said.
"It is the organisation itself. Too much of the human resources capabilities that the company should have been performing on behalf of the players were outsourced to SACA, so naturally what that does is drive the players towards those who are seen to be looking after them.
"How do we now start taking back the responsibilities that the organisation was supposed to execute on behalf of players?"
Moroe says that because of the new structure where decisions can be taken "almost instantaneously" without having to go to the board first, CSA will now be in a better position to communicate directly with its professional players regarding key decisions and changes.
Irish, however, says that the way CSA is trying to sideline SACA is "disrespectful".
"SACA has been around for 17 years and is the most respected independent players' body we have. It performs normal duties like looking after players, their contractual and financial situations and providing educational welfare," Irish said.
"For the majority of the time, we have been doing this in partnership with CSA.
"Any attempt to push SACA out of these areas is simply an attempt to marginalise the organisation and its role.
"It's disrespectful to the players themselves. Every professional player in this country is a member of SACA."
Irish says that SACA has been kicked off CSA committees, had no communication from CSA before the proposed domestic restructure and that systematic agreements between SACA and CSA have been fundamentally broken.
"There is a clear breakdown in the relationship and it is at an all-time low," he said.
"That said, we know that this needs to be resolved but it requires a willingness from both sides and we are still waiting for our invitation for a meeting with CSA.
"SACA is an independent players association that looks out for the best interest of the players and the game and it will continue to do that, especially when it means standing up and asking the hard questions."