Smaller counties offered stakes in English Premier LeagueJuly 14th, 2008 - 9:39 pm ICT by IANS
London, July 14 (IANS) The smaller counties which are alarmed by the proposed Twenty20 English Premier League (EPL) cricket would be assured of the backing of major global investors so that they too can profit from the event. Keith Bradshaw, the chief executive and secretary of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), and Surrey chairman David Stewart, architects of the plan, will meet Monday to plot their strategy before Tuesday’s executive board meeting. One of the main aims will be to win support among the smaller counties, who feel threatened by the moves to form nine new teams based at England’s international grounds.
It is understood the proposal outlines a plan whereby those that fall outside the nine major grounds also benefit by being given a shareholding in the new franchises (termed partnerships) that will ensure they earn significant revenues and capital value. A profit of $99,350,000 has been projected in year one.
Sources indicate that investors from sport in the US, the Indian Premier League and business figures in England are ready to pump money into EPL.
The EPL structure will be presented at the meeting of the ECB where its architects will fight off moves to have their scheme killed, which faces vociferous opposition from senior figures within English cricket’s governing body.
“As a board member, I have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the ECB and English Cricket,” Bradshaw was quoted as saying in the Daily Telegraph. “If I believe this is for the betterment of the game in England, then I will not be backwards in coming forward when it comes to protecting and promoting those values.”
“Twenty20 is about entertainment and it has to be managed in a different way to other forms of the game. Having said that, it must not be to the detriment of Test cricket. It is a marketable product. It is about entertaining people. Twenty20 is a product capable of producing significant sums which can be used for the betterment of all counties.”
The model, which has found favour among the counties, is for a 21-team tournament spanning the summer. All 18 counties would be involved.
“This is the only place in the world where you can create a three-week window in the international calendar at that time of the year,” Bradshaw said. “We want to see guys like Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen earning big bucks here in England as well as overseas.”
The nine-team proposal could easily fit into the future tours programme. Bradshaw said: “There is no way I would want to see county cricket impacted. Test cricket is the pinnacle and county cricket is where the apprenticeships are served. A strong and vibrant county competition must be preserved at all costs.”
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