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Who, what, when and where: ESPNcricinfo's dummy's guide to the Champions League
What is the Champions League?
The Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) is an invitational tournament featuring some of the top domestic Twenty20 sides. The event - run by the boards of India, Australia and South Africa - was conceptualised in 2008 once the money-spinning capacity of the Twenty20 format became evident following the success of the Indian Premier League. The CLT20 was first held in India in 2009, with the second edition hosted by South Africa in September 2010. The third installment is set to be hosted in India in September-October 2011.
How did the Champions League originate?
The idea of an international competition between domestic sides was first mooted in the mid-1990s but it took currency only with the advent of Twenty20 cricket. Following the success of the IPL and other domestic Twenty20 leagues, officials in England, India, Australia and South Africa entered into discussions in 2008 to create an international inter-club competition. It was a paradigm shift for the sport: international cricket, till that point, meant national teams competing against each other. The new concept took it to the level of clubs, states and counties as the organisers sought to replicate the popularity of club-based competitions in other sports, most notably football, which ultimately took precedence over international fixtures. Lalit Modi, who was the chairman and commissioner of the IPL, took over as the chairman for this event as well, and ran the show until his IPL ouster in 2010.
Did the tournament face roadblocks of any kind?
The first edition of the tournament was to be held in India in December 2008 but was cancelled following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai on November 26. It was eventually held in September 2009, but the political situation ruled out the inclusion of a team from Pakistan. Yasir Arafat, representing Sussex, was the only player from Pakistan to feature in that event. No Pakistan player participated in the 2010 edition but allrounder Abdul Razzaq, representing Leicestershire, will feature in the 2011 tournament.
Initially the ICC said the event was not a part of the Future Tours Program (FTP), making it difficult to find a window in the international calendar when all potential players would be available for the tournament. The repercussions were felt in 2010 with the event clashing with the end of the English domestic season due to which there was no representation from England for the year.
The new FTP, however, has given the Champions League a window that doesn't clash with any international cricket, immediately after the England domestic season. Two English teams will participate in the 2011 event.
Which teams participate in the event?
The planned 2008 edition was to have eight teams, from the three host countries, England and Pakistan.
The field was expanded from eight to 12 for the 2009 edition, despite the lack of Pakistani representation. The teams included:
· The top three from the IPL (Deccan Chargers, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils)
· The finalists of the Australian domestic Twenty20 (Victoria and New South Wales)
· The finalists of South Africa's Pro20 (Cape Cobras and Eagles)
· The finalists of England's Twenty20 Cup (Somerset and Sussex)
· Winners of the Stanford 20/20 from West Indies (Trinidad and Tobago)
· Winners of the HRV Cup from New Zealand (Otago)
· Winners of the Inter-provincial Twenty20 tournament from Sri Lanka (Wayamba)
The 2009 edition was won by New South Wales, who defeated Trinidad & Tobago in the final. The 2010 edition has 10 teams in the fray - the same as in 2009 but without the representatives from England.
· Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore from India
· Victoria and South Australia from Australia
· Highveld Lions and Warriors from South Africa
· Guyana from the West Indies
· Central Districts Stags from New Zealand
· Wayamba from Sri Lanka
Chennai Super Kings won the second installment of the Champions League. One of the striking features of the 2010 edition was that the teams from Sri Lanka, New Zealand and West Indies struggled to match up to the levels of the rest of the field. Hence, for the 2011 event, the organisers decided to conduct a preliminary qualifier round involving these teams, the top two county sides, and a fourth Indian team in an attempt to increase the commercial viability of the tournament. The teams participating in the qualifier round are:
· Kolkata Knight Riders from India
· Somerset and Leicestershire from England
· Trinidad & Tobago from West Indies
· Ruhuna from Sri Lanka
· Auckland Aces from New Zealand
The top three teams from the qualifier round will compete in the main draw that will also include:
· Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore from India
· New South Wales and South Australia from Australia
· Cape Cobras and Warriors from South Africa
What is the tournament format?
In 2009, the 12 teams were split into four groups of three each, with two from each group proceeding to a league stage. The eight qualifiers were split into two leagues from which the semi-finalists were identified. The 2010 event had the ten teams split into two groups of five each, with the top two from each group contesting the semi-finals. The 2011 main draw will feature the same format.
What is the prize money involved?
Winning team - $2,500,000
Losing finalist - $1,300,000
Losing semifinalists - $500,000 each
Teams finishing fifth to 10th - $200,000 each
Who are the financial backers for the event?
Airtel, the Indian telecom company, snapped the title sponsorship of the tournament for a five-year period. They, however, ended their association with the tournament ahead of the 2011 event, after which Nokia became the title sponsors for a four-year period. ESPN-Star Sports have bagged the 10-year global broadcast rights for $975 million and will air the event live in the USA, the Middle East, South East Asia and other regions.
Are there players who could represent more than one team and how are such overlaps handled?
Since the event features franchise-based clubs unconstrained by national boundaries, there are instances of a player having to choose between two or more sides. For the 2010 season, Ross Taylor had to choose between three sides - his home team Central Districts, his IPL side Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Victoria. Kieron Pollard (Mumbai, South Australia, Somerset) faced a similar dilemma ahead of the 2011 season, as did Suraj Randiv (Chennai, Ruhuna) , Doug Bollinger (Chennai, NSW), Aiden Blizzard (Mumbai, South Australia), Brett Lee (Kolkata, NSW), Brad Haddin (Kolkata, NSW) and Davy Jacobs (Mumbai, Warriors).
If a player is selected to play for an 'away' team rather than his 'home' team (the team from the country he is eligible to represent in international cricket), the 'away' team must pay $150,000 as release fee to the 'home' team. 'Away' teams are not eligible for compensation if a player chooses to play for his 'home' team.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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