World's richest match will be saved - report

Published: Thursday, October 9, 2008, 18:41 [IST]
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A deal to salvage the 20-million-dollar Stanford 20/20, the world's richest cricket match, could be announced later Thursday, media reports here claimed.

A "commercial agreement", reached after a reported trans-Atlantic telephone conversation between Sir Allen Stanford and Denis O'Brien, head of Digicel, sponsors of the West Indies Cricket Board, has paved the way for the match between the Stanford Superstars and England to go ahead as planned in Antigua on November 1.

"The agreement is to go before the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) directors for ratification when they meet in St Lucia today (Thursday), clearing the way for go-ahead," reported the Trinidad Express newspaper.

"A statement is expected after all the details have been finalised."

The match had been thrown into doubt after a London High Court arbitration hearing upheld the objections of Digicel that the WICB had entered an agreement with Stanford that "wholly compromises the exclusive rights granted to Digicel as principal sponsors of West Indies cricket".

The legal decision meant that either the match would have to be called off or that the Stanford Superstars side would be weakened by the withdrawal of most of the leading West Indian players.

The WICB had previously agreed to make all their players available to play for Texan billionaire Allen Stanford's select side.

But Digicel went to the High Court in a bid to establish that, as the contracted official sponsor of the WICB until 2012, it enjoyed commercial rights associated with a game that was, in effect, a West Indies XI v England.

The High Court upheld that argument and ruled that the Board would be in breach of its contract with Digicel if it sanctioned the match without granting commercial rights to its sponsor.

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