Champions League T20: CA, CSA give India shot in arm

Published: Thursday, July 31, 2008, 14:28 [IST]
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Sydney: Emboldened by the successes of their domestic Twenty20 tournaments, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Cricket Australia (CA) and the Cricket South Africa (CSA), have reached agreement to stage the inaugural ''Champions Twenty20'' later this year but the tournament's venue is yet to be confirmed.

The three boards - the BCCI which organised the Indian Premier League, the CA which organised the KFC Big Bash Twenty20 and the CSA which conducted the Standard Bank Pro20 - will collaborate in an effort to accelerate the development of cricket globally.

Importantly, this would mark the introduction of a long-awaited football-style Champions League format for cricket, which will pit the best-of-the-best clubs in domestic cricket globally against each other.

The ten-day inaugural tournament will be played from Sept 29 to Oct 8. The eight teams will be representing the finalists in the various domestic leagues, as per regulations of the League.

The teams will play 15 matches in the inaugural Champions Twenty20.The number will move up to 12 teams playing 23 matches from the second year.

The eight teams will be divided into two groups of four teams each. After the preliminary league matches, the top two teams from each group will qualify for the semi-finals and their winners will clash in the grand finale.

The teams will be competing for a prize pool of $6 million in the Champions Twenty20.

At the meeting yesterday, the regulations concerning the league, the business plan, the governance model, the shareholding pattern and the commercial aspects including the tender process relating to the League have been approved.

Lalit Modi, Chairman and Commissioner of the IPL and Vice President BCCI, said, ''The success of the DLF Indian Premier League has undoubtedly captured the imagination of cricket supporters from around the world. The Champions Twenty20 League, which will be played by eight best teams from the world which have earned their place through their domestic competitions, provides a new and exciting pinnacle for club championships across the world."

''It will provide teams with the opportunity to earn the title of World Club Champions in a format which will be eagerly anticipated by spectators and players alike. I keenly look forward to the inaugural season of the Champions Twenty20 League in Sept/Oct 2008,'' he added.

Chief Executive of Cricket Australia, James Sutherland, said, ''This fantastic new competition gives our best state cricketers, and their equivalents in other competitions, a chance to pit their skills against champions from other countries. I am also delighted that the benefits of this global event will flow down to state level and enhance cricket at grass roots level.

''I am certain it will add a whole new dimension to our own KFC Big Bash Twenty20 interstate competition and globally, will help us all in winning new fans for cricket around the world,'' he added.

The Champions League is the first attempt of this type of concept in cricket and is aimed at producing more players capable of competing at the highest level.

The Twenty20 Champions League's mission will be to promote and develop cricket from the grassroots level upwards and promote the spirit of cricket among all the players and participating teams.

Originally, the tournament was to be held in England but BCCI's reservation about the presence of rebel ICL players in English counties and other issues forced the board to change the venue.

The England Cricket Board is now trying to launch its own version of Champions League in Sharjah.

Teams to feature in Champions League T20: IPL finalists Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Superstars (India); Western Australia and Victoria (Australia) and Nashua Titans and Dolphins (South Africa). And a team each from Pakistan and NZ/Lanka were expected to take part in the inaugural edition of the much awaited event.

Read more about: bcci, lalit modi, ca, t20, csa, dlf, ipl, champions twenty20
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