Stanford deal close

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The Independent Online

A final resolution to the sponsorship row that had threatened the multi-million pound Stanford Twenty20 match looks to be only hours away.

The West Indies Cricket Board have scheduled a meeting in St Lucia for 10am local time (3pm BST) where their chief executive, Dr Donald Peters, said he expected the governing body's directors would ratify an agreement to allow the winner-takes-all £10m match to go ahead.

Peters revealed that while negotiations were still ongoing between telecommunications company Digicel and the match organisers Stanford, he expected a deal would be done in time for the meeting.

"I expect that at the meeting we will have an agreement that we (the WICB) will discuss," he told PA Sport.

"The negotiations are still going on so I am not yet sure what the outcomes is, but we will be able to discuss the matter further after the meeting."

Reports earlier today suggested a "commercial agreement" had been reached after a trans-Atlantic telephone conversation between Sir Allen Stanford and Digicel boss Denis O'Brien.

It now appears the final points on that deal are being put together before the WICB can give the game their sanction.

The WICB were forced to revoke their sanctioning of the game on Tuesday after London's High Court upheld Digicel's claim that their deal with Stanford has compromised their sponsorship with the governing body.

That ruling has forced Stanford, who had wanted to find their own sponsors for the game, to the negotiation table after they had previously expressed their belief that the game was not an official West Indies match and therefore that Digicel had no sponsorship rights.

PA Sport understands that an original three-point resolution, which Digicel tendered to the Stanford organisers last month, will form the basis of any potential agreement.

The three points of that resolution included Digicel's request that no telecoms company would be involved in the event, that the Stanford organisers would pay for all their legal costs and finally that the Stanford team wear West Indies kits in the game with the Digicel brand remaining in its current form and size.

Stanford agreed to the first two points in a compromised counter-offer, with the sticking point regarding the uniform branding.

At the time a Stanford spokesman told PA Sport that they were unwilling to offer Digicel the "presenting sponsors" place on the team shirts.

Statements from the parties involved are expected to be released following the meeting in St Lucia.