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Twenty20 Champions League unveiled

The England and Wales Cricket Board, Cricket Australia, the Board of Control for Cricket in India and Cricket South Africa have reached an agreement for the staging of the inaugural cricket Champions League this autumn.

Following meetings late last week between ECB, represented by chairman Giles Clarke and chief executive David Collier, and Cricket Australia’s chairman Creagh O’Connor and chief executive James Sutherland, talks were concluded yesterday (Friday) between Clarke and Indian Premier League commissioner and BCCI representative Lalit Modi and Cricket South Africa president Norman Arendse.

It was agreed that the first Champions League tournament would involve eight teams playing 15 matches in a 10-day period in late September and early October in either the Middle East or India.

The prize money for the winners has been set at $5m with significant sums for the teams finishing second, third and fourth.

Clarke and Modi will now begin looking at commercial partners for the competition which gives a great boost to the ECB’s domestic Twenty20 Cup which begins on Wednesday June 11 with the final at Southampton’s Rose Bowl on July 26.

The two teams in the Twenty20 Cup final at the Rose Bowl will join Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings from India, the Titans from Pretoria and KwaZulu Natal Dolphins representing South Africa and Western Australian and Victoria from Australia in the Champions League.

Clarke said after yesterday’s meeting at Lord’s: “We are extremely grateful to our great friends from Australia, India and South Africa for their hard work and determination to get this tournament off the ground.

“The ECB Twenty20 Cup will be even more fiercely contested this season in the knowledge that the two teams who reach the final will qualify for the Champions League and the chance to win $5m. I am sure that the demand for tickets for this year’s ECB Twenty20 Cup will be greater than ever.

“We are already aware of a number of broadcast and commercial partners who are anxious to become involved with cricket’s latest exciting venture.”

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