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December date for Champions League

The Board of Control for Cricket in India, Cricket Australia, and Cricket South Africa today announced the rescheduling of the inaugural edition of the Champions League Twenty20 from September-October to early December.

The three founding member boards reiterated that this was a goodwill response to a request from the International Cricket Council (ICC) to consider new playing dates for 2008.

The first Champions League Twenty20 will now be contested from 3 – 10 December inclusive, the three cricket boards said in a joint statement today.

Venues and commercial partnership details will be finalised in the coming weeks now that the new dates have been set.

Eight teams, consisting of the reigning winners and runners-up from the domestic Twenty20 competitions in India, Australia and South Africa, plus the reigning Twenty20 champion Sialkot from Pakistan and the reigning Twenty20 Cup champion from England, Middlesex, have been invited to contest the 2008 Champions League Twenty20.

The inaugural contest was announced on 30 July this year, offering teams US$6 million of prize money, the biggest prize money in world cricket for cricket at a domestic competition level.

The prize money, including US$3 million for the winning team, will be shared between the teams and their players. The Governing Council of the event together with its founding cricket boards believe the significant prize money to be shared between teams and players will ensure that the benefits of the event will foster cricket’s development by injecting new funding into domestic-level cricket and at the same time will handsomely reward domestic-level cricketers and provide a unique opportunity for a higher public profile for players at the level below international cricket.

The 2008 date change for the event was agreed to by the event’s Governing Council after receiving an ICC request to consider alternative dates in 2008 in order to offer a clearer window after the ICC Champions Trophy, which is currently scheduled for September 2008.

“While the Champions League Twenty20 is a domestic tournament not affected by ICC Event rules, we have agreed to the ICC request as a gesture of goodwill,” the joint Champions League Twenty20 statement said.

Lalit Modi, Chairman and Commissioner of the Indian Premier League and Vice President BCCI said: “We are happy that we were able to find a window during the first week of December for the inaugural edition of the Champions League Twenty20. There was a gap in between the One-Day Internationals and Tests against the touring England squad and that will enable both the Rajasthan Royals and the Chennai Super Kings to regroup and focus on the inaugural edition of the Champions League Twenty20.”

To facilitate the change in Australia, Cricket Australia, Cricket South Africa and the West Australian Cricket Association, as the venue operator, have also agreed to reschedule the 3 mobile Australia-South Africa Test due to be played at the WACA ground in Perth, Western Australia to start on 17 December 2008 instead of 12 December.

This creates a window between the 3 mobile Australia-New Zealand Test at Adelaide, due to start on 28 November, and the new dates for the 3 mobile Perth Test, which will allow Australian and South African players to participate in the Champions League Twenty20.

CA Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland and CSA CEO Gerald Majola said they had consulted players and player associations, the WACA and other stakeholders to assess the feasibility and impact of making the Test match playing date changes.

“We were pleased with the WACA reaction that the new playing dates offer local fans, including corporate groups wanting to entertain at the cricket, good dates for pre-Christmas Test match enjoyment, and we also took feedback from players that the changes could be accommodated without compromising what will be a defacto World Test Cricket Championship bout between Australian and South Africa during December and January,” they said.

“The changes can be made without compromising cricket’s premium format and allow the significant benefits which the new Champions League Twenty20 will offer grassroots cricket to be delivered”.

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