ECB intent on rival tournament

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The Independent Online

English cricket officials are pressing ahead with their own plans to stage a rival Champions League later this year and do not intend to attend tomorrow's meeting to discuss the Indian proposals for the tournament.

The Indian Premier League commissioner Lalit Modi claimed yesterday that England will be excluded from this year's competition over a series of issues surrounding the tournament. Modi claimed the Indian version of the Champions League would be held in Jaipur, New Delhi and Mohali from 29 September to 8 October and details would be finalised at a meeting in Mumbai tomorrow with officials from Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa, although neither of those boards has confirmed its attendance.

However, the England and Wales Cricket Board is believed to have the finance in place for an alternative tournament, which would probably be staged in Abu Dhabi following talks with the Abu Dhabi Royal Family about them bankrolling the event.

After several weeks of talks between the ECB and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the impasse has not been broken in a dispute over rights to the tournament and the availability of players who have played in the private Indian Cricket League.

Under the Indian proposal, the BCCI would retain 50 per cent of the rights to the tournament and will not sanction any players from the ICL or teams who have used them to qualify.

The ECB is suggesting a more equal share of the tournament royalties among the different boards and an amnesty over ICL players from last year, but are hopeful of a compromise with Modi to safeguard the Champions League tournament.