English bid to copy IPL faces strong opposition

July 12th, 2008 - 7:39 pm ICT by IANS  

London, July 12 (IANS) English cricket authorities are facing strong resistance to an attempt to copy the Indian Premier League (IPL) model for an English Twenty20 championship that would do away with half the traditional county teams. Giles Clarke, the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) that is likely to consider the proposals Tuesday, said: “Quite a lot of it is probably not going to find favour with me.”

According to the blueprint of the plans seen by journalists, the 18 English cricket counties will be discarded for nine teams that will be linked to “cities, regions, grounds or counties”.

“The authors do not specifically talk of city-based franchises as happened in the IPL but their wording makes it clear they have no objection to it,” said BBC sports editor Mihir Bose.

Dreamed up by Surrey chairman David Stewart and MCC chief executive Steve Bradshaw, the so-called ‘New T20′ is to be “a partnership between the new owner/investors and the owners of the nine Category A grounds” - Lord’s, The Oval, Old Trafford, Edgbaston, Headingley, Trent Bridge, Chester-le-Street, the Swalec Stadium and the Rose Bowl.

The plans, which were leaked to Bose, created fury among smaller counties, who accused Bradshaw and Stewart of reneging on an agreement to base the championship on all 18 counties.

“This is a huge surprise… I don’t enjoy situations where you have to question people’s integrity and, unfortunately, that is the situation we are in here,” said Mark Newton, the chief executive of Worcestershire.

Worcestershire is one of nine first-class counties that do not stage their home games at so-called Category A grounds - the proposed venues for the 25-day, 57-match championship, which is expected to generate 350-400 million pounds for the nine teams.

There would be an auction - another idea taken from the IPL - with a salary cap of 1.5 million pounds per team.

The championship would be financed by private backers along the line of the IPL and owned by a company calling itself New T20 Ltd.

Bose said: “Having analysed its 21 pages, I would say that, as a City [financial] document, the report is great. But I can see why the likes of Leicestershire and Derbyshire are so unhappy about it from a cricket perspective.

“The content of the document could be the catalyst for the biggest revolution in English cricket history, and the mother of all battles between the haves and the have-nots of county cricket,” he added.

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