Picture: istock
Picture: istock

Having left matters lamentably late, Cricket SA is hinting that an interim agreement with the South African Cricketers’ Association (Saca) may be needed to save the professional game from collapse in the country.

The current memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Cricket SA and Saca expires at the end of April, in seven working days, including Thursday.

No replacement has been agreed, and without a valid MOU most of the country’s national and franchise players would be unemployed. That would leave them free to strike deals with other organisations, particularly T20 circuses around the world, which could see them lost to cricket in SA.

Saca has complained that Cricket SA has delayed negotiations for a new agreement.

But in a release on Wednesday the board said it had "outlined plans to conclude a new MOU with Saca as a matter of urgency".

The release includes a get-out-of-trouble clause: "In the event of negotiations concerning the new MOU not being completed by April 30, Cricket SA has indicated its willingness to extend the existing contracts for a further period with the intention of having the new agreement in place by July this year."

Thabang Moroe, Cricket SA’s acting CEO, seems to have changed his tune. In December he claimed: "Ultimately the people who make money for cricket is Cricket SA, it’s not a union."

Moroe said in Wednesday’s release: "While we will be seeking to clarify our relationship with Saca, I would like to stress that there will be no fundamental change in the underlying relationships between Cricket SA and Saca.

"It is rather the intention to restructure relationships that cover the employer/employee relationship, the collective bargaining relationship and the commercial relationship so that all of these relationships are regulated under separate agreements, Moroe added."

While the new MOU was being negotiated, Cricket SA gives an "irrevocable undertaking that an interim agreement is being proposed to allay any anxiety on the part of our cricketers concerning their futures".

Saca CEO Tony Irish could not immediately be reached for comment.