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ECB face Champions League exclusion

India have released details of an agreement with South Africa and Australia for a new lucrative Champions League tournament to be staged later this year.

The three boards met in Mumbai to discuss the rules and regulations of the tournament, which is due to be staged in India in October and competed for by the leading eight Twenty20 domestic teams in the world.

The agreement effectively ends England's hopes of staging a rival Champions League competition and will almost certainly force the England and Wales Cricket Board to reach agreement with India or face exclusion from the Champions League riches.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India have already stated they have no objection to Middlesex, the Twenty20 Cup winners, from entering the Champions League but are not prepared to accept finalists Kent because of their Indian Cricket League players Justin Kemp and Azhar Mahmood.

England had hoped to organise a rival competition in Abu Dhabi, financed by the Abu Dhabi royal family, and persuade Australia and South Africa to join their competition.

But the announcement leaves the ECB facing frantic negotiations with India to ensure their clubs have a presence in the competition, which will be staged between September 29 and October 8 with eight teams competing for a prize pool of US dollars 6million.

Lalit Modi, chairman and commissioner of the Indian Premier League and BCCI vice-president, said: "The success of the IPL has undoubtedly captured the imagination of cricket supporters from around the world.

"The Champions Twenty20 League, which will be played by (the) eight best teams from the world which have earned their place through their domestic competitions, provides a new and exciting pinnacle for club championships across the world.

"It will provide teams with the opportunity to earn the title of World Club Champions in a format which will be eagerly anticipated by spectators and players alike. I keenly look forward to the inaugural season of the Champions Twenty20 League in September/October 2008."

source - pa.press.net
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