Colombo, June 20: In a development that could provide safe passage to the dozen Indian players looking to participate in the Sri Lankan Premier League (SLPL) in July, Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC) has repudiated the BCCI's concern over a private company's ownership of the League.
The BCCI had on Saturday, barred its players from playing in the tournament on the grounds that the Singapore-based event management company Somerset Ventures and not the SLC, would be dispensing contracts to its players.
Now, the SLC has reassured the BCCI that the SLPL is very much owned and has been approved by the Sri Lankan board and that Somerset Ventures only owns the commercial rights to the tournament.
"This tournament is approved by SLC," its secretary Nishantha Ranatunga told ESPNcricinfo. "And Somerset are the marketing arm, having won the rights through a tender process. Nobody can say it is owned by Somerset."
Somerset is accountable for merely the logistics and marketing of the tournament, a role akin to the one IMG plays for the Indian Premier League (IPL). And contrary to the IPL where the teams are owned by private franchises, it is SLC that owns the seven teams in the tournament and will determine which players are assigned to which teams, thereby giving them an adequate amount of control over the event.
The BCCI had initially stated it had no qualms about the proposed league and that Indian players could take part, as long as there was no clash with India's international or domestic schedule.
The SLPL will be played between July 19 and August 4 at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. Several foreign players including Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Shahid Afridi, Daniel Vettori, Kevin O'Brien and Herschelle Gibbs have already been signed for the tournament.