Proteas batter Andrie Steyn has backed the South African Cricketers Association (Saca) and the role it plays in representing the women’s game in the country.
To say that the future of the relationship between Cricket South Africa (CSA) and Saca is uncertain would be a massive understatement, with SACA CEO Tony Irish saying last week that it has reached an “all-time low”.
Saca is persisting with legal action in an effort to force CSA to reveal detailed statements explaining their current financial situation.
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That action stems from CSA’s proposed domestic restructure for 2021 that would see the franchise system expanded from 6 professional teams to 12 .
The fear amongst Saca and the players is that the expansion would see around 70 current professional and semi-professional players out of contract while there could also be significant salary deductions.
Saca wants to see detailed evidence of how the domestic restructure would be financially viable and beneficial to cricket in the country before they get on board with it, but CSA are unable or unwilling to provide Saca with the financial documents they are seeking.
It has resulted in a stand-off that has the potential to turn nasty, with CSA CEO Thabang Moroe saying at a press conference in Johannesburg last week that CSA wanted to take back some of the player welfare responsibilities that Saca had performed in recent times.
Moroe insists that Saca still has a crucial role to play in South African cricket moving forward, but it does sound like that role will become limited if CSA has their way.
CSA wants to have a more direct line of communication to its professional players, but removing SACA as that vehicle of communication might not go down so well with the players themselves.
Speaking to Sport24 last week, Steyn opened up on Saca and the role it played for professional players in the country.
“A lot of the girls have felt for a long time like they owe CSA something and it’s sort of a thing of being so thankful that they’ve given us the opportunity,” said Steyn.
“It’s something that we’ve tried to break because it shouldn’t be like that.
“It should just be an honour to play for your country and I think Saca has helped a lot of the time to get that across.
“A lot of the time the points the girls have brought up (to CSA) have fallen on deaf ears, so we are quite grateful to Saca.
“A lot of the time we might not bring it across in a way where they (CSA) will understand it in the way we want them to, and Saca is the perfect middleman to have and not make things personal.”
Irish, meanwhile, further committed Saca to representing women’s cricket.
“Saca and the international player body FICA has been at the forefront of the push to professionalise women’s cricket across the world,” he said.
“As women’s cricket grows globally, so it’s important that we continue to produce the best Proteas team possible to keep pace with that.
“Our women Proteas work hard at their cricket and they should be treated as professionals in the same way that male cricketers are. Saca will continue to represent their interests in this.”
Moroe is on record as saying that it was his mission to one day see the Proteas women paid the same as the Proteas men.