$100 million cash boost for West Indies
Texas billionaire Allen Stanford has given West Indies cricket $120 million over three years in what he described as a bid to bring the game into the 21st century.
Stanford said most of the funding would go towards grassroots development to prepare for the second Stanford Twenty20 tournament early in 2008 after the launch of his Caribbean regional tournament last year.
The 21 teams will compete for a top prize of $1.2 million, with the losing finalist getting $583,000.
Overall prizemoney is $3.4 million, one of the largest purses for a domestic competition in the history of the game.
Last year Stanford invested more than $35 million in a similar project.
"This won't be just cricket, this will be a life-changing experience," Stanford said.
"We can't wait two decades to regain the golden era of West Indies cricket. We are stuck in the 1950s and '60s. We can't allow ourselves to stay stuck forever. We have to come into the 21st century."
The glory years of West Indies cricket were in the late 1970s and 1980s.
The 21 teams in Stanford's tournament will each receive monthly grants of $17,500, with Cuba's funds distributed to the cricket council for government sporting programs.
"I'm investing a lot of money in this thing and at some point I expect to make a profit -- something that needs to happen for the longevity of the program and will provide essential funding for West Indies cricket," Stanford said.
"I have committed my resources and I believe that within those five years we'll have a world-beating West Indies team again.
"The Stanford Twenty20 program we're creating is going to be the instrument that brings about that success, the catalyst that takes us back to the glory days of West Indies cricket."
The Stanford Twenty20 project is run by a board of directors, all former West Indies greats, including Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Viv Richards, Curtly Ambrose and Michael Holding.
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