JOHANNESBURG – Cricket South Africa remains intent on obtaining financial support from municipalities for hosting international matches, despite ditching plans for cities to bid for the right to host the Proteas.
Cricket SA’s chief executive Thabang Moroe said this week the federation was to hold talks with the government to obtain greater financial backing for international matches, particularly related to logistical arrangements like safety and security.
“For instance with the ‘Pink Day’ at the Wanderers, it would be nice for the city of Johannesburg to say there will be no costs to cricket; they will cover ambulances, metro police, SAPS, security and cleaning services,” said Moroe.
“Those are the small things cities could do for us as cricket to help us, who have brought the content to them. They benefit from tourists, people consuming alcohol, food, hotels … there are a lot of spinoffs that the city benefits from that we don’t get to benefit from as cricket.”
Cricket SA is in the midst of a difficult period financially, primarily owing to the amount of money it spent on getting the Mzansi Super League up and running. In addition talks about the new broadcast deal – Cricket SA’s primary source of income – are delayed while the federation draws up plans for a restructuring of the domestic game.
The federation has already declared that it anticipates making losses of R654-million for the four-year period ending in April 2022.
An initial plan to get municipalities to bid for the right to host Proteas matches was scrapped shortly after it became public, but Cricket SA is determined councils must pay for the right to have matches in their regions.
Incoming tours by England are arguably the most lucrative, particularly for Test when the huge supporter group, ’the Barmy Army’ follows the side. Joe Root’s team will be in the country for four Tests later this year and the trip coincides with the supporters group’s 25th anniversary, which could mean even greater numbers heading to South Africa.
“We want to make sure this tour works for CSA, not just for the economy of South Africa, and cricket does not benefit from it,” said Moroe.
“We have been bringing these tours to the country for a very long time and all we benefit from is the gate takings. Cricket can’t survive on gate takings only. Even with our sponsors coming in and doing the best they can, it’s not enough. We do need government departments coming in – the cities to back us – so our coffers aren’t depleted.”
Cricket SA will most likely have to wait until after the General Election on May 8 before it can be clearly determined if or how much backing it will get from municipalities.
Moroe also confirmed that the schedule for the England tour, supposed to comprise four Tests, three One-Day Internationals and three T20 Internationals, will be released before the end of the month.