Stanford offers millions to English cricketers

April 19th, 2008 - 6:27 pm ICT by admin  

London, April 19 (IANS) Texas billionaire Allen Stanford has offered crocks of gold to the English cricketers who have missed out on the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL). Stanford said the English players would be millionaires by the end of the five Twenty20 matches proposed against his West Indies All-Star team.

Stanford, who is credited with having set up the first Twenty20 franchise league in the Caribbean, has offered to invest $100 million for a proposed five-match Twenty20 series between England and his West Indies All-Star team scheduled to begin in Antigua on the island nation’s Independence Day Nov 1.

“Some England players may be millionaires already. All of them are in a position to be millionaires by the end of this game. Knowing that one side takes all the money will add to the pressure and excitement,” Stanford was quoted as saying by The Times.

“The 27th anniversary of Antigua gaining independence will be a great occasion for the game and add to the hype. I am doing this to have fun, brand the Stanford name and help West Indies cricket. It benefits everyone and is not a threat. I am not trying to dominate or take over. That would be counterproductive,” he added.

He made his first visit to the Lord’s earlier this week in an effort to negotiate with the English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) about the proposed Twenty20 series.

Stanford had approached South Africa and the Proteas had agreed to play, but the dates of the series clashed with West Indies’ Pakistan tour. He then offered a $10 million to the winners of the ICC World Twenty20, India, but they refused to be a part of any private contest.

However, it proved to be third time lucky for Stanford, as after his talks with ECB chief executive David Collier Tuesday, ECB chairman Giles Clarke had said the prospect of England’s participation in the winner-takes-all $20 million per match series is very likely.

“I would be happy to make a five-year commitment. I’d be willing to put in $100 million,” Stanford said.

Stanford also issued a warning to the IPL saying: “The IPL put everybody in a defensive posture, you either play by their rules or you do not play at all, but that is starting to change. I think ultimately England will be the determinator of Twenty20, not the IPL.”

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