JOHANNESBURG: A prospective franchise owner of the upcoming Twenty20 Global League has "ended its interest", throwing a spanner in the works of Cricket South Africa's T20 ambitions.
CSA confirmed Friday that Brimstone Investment Corporation Limited (Brimstone) had withdrawn its commitment to owning the Stellenbosch franchise.
"Following the announcement in June this year, Brimstone continued its own internal process in regards to the proposed acquisition of the franchise," Mustaq Brey, CEO of Brimstone, said in a statement. "As a result of this process the company has decided not to proceed with this venture."
In the same statement, Brey added: "We follow a rigorous investment process. This venture had to undergo the same process and be tested against our standard investment criteria as all other investment proposals. Our investment decisions take cognisance of the risks and benefits to all our stakeholders.
"We wish Cricket South Africa well with the T20 Global League and will continue to support the development of, and access to, the sport in various other ways."
CSA set an initial target of having four local owners in the competition, but Brimstone's withdrawal means that only one remains - and even that could be in the balance, with details of Osman Osman's investment in the Pretoria franchise still to be confirmed, cricbuzz.com reports.
“It would have been a huge honour and privilege to have had Brimstone on board but we understand their investment process limited them and we respect their decision,” said CSA chief executive, Haroon Lorgat.
CSA is currently evaluating other interested parties from the initial shortlist of bidders as well as new parties who have expressed interest. The process of screening and evaluating all potential owners is overseen by EY and all the necessary due diligence procedures remain in place. In the interim, CSA will take on the responsibility to set up the franchise.
“We are confident that the Stellenbosch franchise team will be ready for participation in the T20 Global League, which kicks off in November 2017,” added Lorgat.“We are working full steam to be ready for any new owner to takeover and run the team without any delay.
“Looking ahead, the T20 Global League is progressing according to plan, with successful workshops held in Dubai with all of the franchise team owners and then back at home with all our members,” concluded Lorgat.
The player draft is scheduled for 26 and 27 August, with almost 400 players from 10 countries confirming their interest.