Stanford confirms plans for lucrative fixtures

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The Independent Online

England's players will each receive £500,000 if they win their lucrative Twenty20 challenge match with Sir Allen Stanford's all-star side.

Texan billionaire Stanford this afternoon confirmed agreement had been reached with the England and Wales Cricket Board to stage the first of what will be a series of matches in Antigua on November 1.

The match has been billed as '20/20 for 20' - with all the $20m prize money going to the winning team.

ECB chief executive David Collier said at this afternoon's launch: "It will be one million dollars for each of the players in the 11 in the match, if they win."

Stanford said: "It is one night, winner-takes-all $20m. The winner goes home happy, the loser goes home unhappy."

The ECB began discussions with Stanford, backer of the Caribbean Twenty20 competition, as they looked for ways to better exploit the growing popularity of the game's shortest format.

The development follows the successful launch of the Indian Premier League and the announcement of a new Champions League tournament for teams from England, India, Australia and South Africa.

Collier added: "It is a wonderful opportunity. It is wonderful to have such a warm endorsement from Sir Allen and it is testament to what we have been trying to do in the game."

Stanford, now a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda, got involved in cricket in an effort to raise the standard of the game in the West Indies.

He added: "I don't think I'm giving it [the money] away. I'm investing it in cricket's future in the West Indies.

"We're in a bit of a trough and I want to do everything I can to bring it back up. I'm doing the best I can.

"We had to create something that had never been done to take the sport to another level."

Stanford is happy to be working with the ECB, having previously been rebuffed in discussions with South Africa and India.

He added: "The ECB have the best organisation, the best management and the best structure to drive cricket into the 21st century."