BCCI, ECB leave Champions League in limbo

Published: Tuesday, July 29, 2008, 13:30 [IST]
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New Delhi: India and England were Tuesday embroiled in an acrimonious tug-of-war over the inaugural Twenty20 Champions League, with both wanting to host it with or without each other.

The lucrative football-style League, featuring top Twenty20 domestic sides from around the world, is scheduled to be played between Sept 29 and Oct 8.

India insists it will host the tournament while England, which opposes the terms and conditions laid down by the Indians, wants to stage its own version in the United Arab Emirates on the same dates.

Utter chaos prevailed in cricket circles on Tuesday as both sides claimed that teams from Australia and South Africa will take part in their respective tournaments.

India, buoyed by the success of the Indian Premier League (IPL) earlier this year, said it will finalise details of its tournament at a meeting in Mumbai on Wednesday with Australian and South African chiefs.

The northern cities of New Delhi, Mohali and Jaipur have already been announced as the possible venues in the 10-million dollar event, with half that amount going to the winners.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said the Abu Dhabi royal family had agreed to bankroll their tournament to be held in the UAE capital and the adjoining emirate of Sharjah.

"At the moment we are progressing with our plans and we have no plans to travel to Mumbai and attend Wednesday's meeting," an ECB spokesman said in London on Monday.

Who plays where is undecided, although the original plans had the top two Twenty20 teams from Australia, England, South Africa and India taking part.

Local media reports on Tuesday said India had turned down England's offer to send two teams for their event in the Gulf - and also does not expect English sides to feature in their own tournament.

In a letter to the ECB, the Indian board wrote it 'wished the ECB all the best' with its tournament but "unfortunately, we cannot accept" the invitation, reports said.

The BCCI's reply, sent on its behalf by the IPL commissioner Lalit Modi, suggests their position is final.

Modi have 'clearly informed' the eight IPL franchises that they can participate only in tournaments run and approved by the BCCI.

Talks between the Indian board and the ECB failed to resolve the issues of tournament rights and the availability of players who took part in the unauthorised Indian Cricket League (ICL).

India, the sport's financial powerhouse, wanted to retain a 50 per cent stake in the tournament and would not allow teams that fielded ICL players from taking part.

Kent, one of the two teams set to represent England in the Champions League, has two ICL players in Pakistan's Azhar Mahmood and Justin Kemp of South Africa.

With the England out of the League fixture, Modi said a team from Pakistan was confirmed while the last slot may be filled by a team from New Zealand or even Lanka.

Indian official Lalit Modi had said last week the Champions League was being put off to a later date, but appeared to change his mind after being told England were going ahead with their own tournament.

The tournament is sandwiched in the short 11-day gap between the Champions Trophy final in Pakistan on Sept 28 and the first Test between Australia and India in Bangalore from Oct 9.


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