Champions League June 22, 2008

ICL policy could cost England - BCCI

Cricinfo staff

Top Curve
The story so far
  • September 13, 2007: First announcement of Champions League, an international Twenty20 competition to be run by boards of India, England, Australia and South Africa and featuring top two sides from each country.
  • June 7, 2008: ECB says the league, with US$5m prize money, will be held in September-October.
  • June 8, 2008: IPL chief Lalit Modi says its franchises will get first priority over players who are also in other teams to qualify for the Champions League - and that teams fielding ICL players will be disqualified.
  • June 10, 2008: Chairmen of several English counties demand clarification over the eligibility of ICL players.
  • June 19, 2008: BCCI president Sharad Pawar says national boards can adopt their own policy over ICL players but the BCCI would then have the freedom to take its decision.
Bottom Curve

Two weeks after the ECB announced the US$5 million Champions League Twenty20 tournament, England are in danger of not being part of the event with the BCCI officially deciding on Sunday to bar players associated with the unauthorised Indian Cricket League (ICL).

Niranjan Shah, the BCCI secretary, told Cricinfo Pakistan had been asked to join the tournament after the Indian board found it would not be possible to invite English counties due to the ECB's "policy of letting ICL players play in their leagues". The IPL - a part of the Indian board - is the driving force behind the Champions League while the rules for the tournament are currently being framed by Cricket Australia.

IS Bindra, a member of the IPL's governing council, told Cricinfo that "as of now, three [participating] countries are confirmed - India, South Africa and Australia". "Pakistan may be the fourth, but first we have to get a response from the ECB on the ICL issue," Bindra said. "Teams from England can be considered, but only those who don't have players associated with the ICL.

"The BCCI is very clear that ICL players will not be featured in the tournament. If the ECB can't guarantee that it will clear only teams without ICL players for the tournament, then we will look at the replacement."

The BCCI has barred all official links with players associated with the ICL, which was launched last year before the BCCI's high-profile IPL, but there are currently around 25 players connected with the ICL playing for 15 of the 18 English counties.

Bindra, who is also the ICC's principal advisor, said the decision to ask the ECB to ensure teams without ICL links for the Champions League was taken at a meeting of the BCCI in New Delhi on Sunday. "We will get a final picture when the issue is discussed during the ICC's annual conference in Dubai this month-end."

Other BCCI officials told Cricinfo they don't expect the ECB to provide a "no-ICL guarantee" and suggested that English teams are virtually out of the tournament. The ECB allowed players associated with the ICL to play in their domestic circuit after it faced legal action from the league, which was backed by the country's strong trade laws that protects the rights of individuals. "It's just that the BCCI would like the ECB to be seen as taking a decision on this," an official said.

Lalit Modi, the IPL chairman and commissioner, had previously told Cricinfo that teams with players associated with ICL would not be invited for the tournament "under any circumstance", even if these players are dropped just for the event.

The Champions League was announced by England in a press release on June 7 which said that the ECB, Cricket Australia, the BCCI and Cricket South Africa had "reached an agreement for the staging of the inaugural Champions League this autumn". However, Modi later said that the announcement was premature.

The tournament, to be held in September-October, will involve the top two Twenty20 domestic teams from participating nations. Western Australia and Victoria from Australia, Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings from the Indian Premier League in India along with the Dolphins and Titans from the Pro20 in South Africa have already qualified.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Bellapu on June 24, 2008, 9:30 GMT

    I must say, leave BCCI in champions league. Forget about BCCI teams. People will still see the cricket. Its the game we love not the package that comes with it. I must say, BCCI arrogance will cost them big time later in time. Someone have to teach them a lesson before it becomes worst. Hope cricket wins. Not the Money.

  • Samad on June 24, 2008, 9:28 GMT

    My head goes down in shame for being an Indian every time the BCCI comes up with such stance against fellow Indians playing in a different league in the same country!

    Shame on you Lalit Modi! Shame on you Sharad Pawar! Shame on you BCCI!

  • Maneesh on June 24, 2008, 9:25 GMT

    BCCI is a private institution i.e. if you and I decided one day to invest in a trust and find some players, we can enter them as a team. There is no government sponsorship of the BCCI, except of course, the huge revenues which attract the corrupt politicians. They are in fact in a similar legal position as the ICL (apart from being members of ICC). I didn't watch the ICL, but really its amazing how arrogant BCCI is being. Money cannot be everything, Asia Cup in the hottest months (no International match has ever been played in Pakistan in these months), constant tours and grinding schedules are killing Indian players. For once even I am sick of watching the Indian team play all the time, though must admit, i get involved anyways. Even though I am an Indian, I think its time someone had a coup and overthrew these guys ...what say?

  • Bipul on June 24, 2008, 9:12 GMT

    Cricket is a national sport and it shouldn't be messed around with private channels like Zee TV by creating personal leagues like ICL. Just look at the condition of Film Awards. Every silly channel and franchise have their own award ceremony. Once such a much awaited event has now become a farce. If leagues like ICL is allowed to prosper then same will happen to cricket. Soon there will be Star TV league, DDL (Doordarshan League), ETV League, NDTV League and all kind of crap. BCCI is doing absolutely right thing to kill it. But I don't think it more than what it is currently trying to do. Start a better league and ensure that ICL players are not seen around. I am all for BCCI. All comments here are from short-sighted people who can't visualize what is lurking.

  • Satya on June 24, 2008, 7:39 GMT

    Actual initiative has to come from present players who playing for country. I give best example to be as Mcgrath.. when he was in full form he has retired from international. i would like to raise one question, how our legend cricketers are not fit to play 20/20 or one dayers were played in IPL for millions of dollars.. is it fair enough for the upcoming players.. Some of our legends were played IPL even they are not 100% fit. nothing loose to them only sufferers will be franchise owners. If ICL doing illegal business, how Mr. MODI even has a criminal back ground became a top role in BCCI?? The only way to resolve this BCCI demanding ship, media has to oppose it, Indian govt. has to step in to control the board. Unfortunately BCCI president is a Government representative.. we can't do much unless they change their minds themselves.. Pitty ICL chaps..

  • Daniel on June 24, 2008, 7:24 GMT

    I want the counties to win this argument, if only to see New Zealand spearheaded by Shane Bond again. Why can't a player play his trade in any league he/she wants?

    Ok, so the IPL and ICL are direct competitors. I can understand why you might not be able to play in both leagues but banning ICL players from other leagues or international duty is restraint of trade.

    If an Indian player were to go and play county cricket instead of participating in the IPL, he would still be eligible to represent India. The ICL shouldn't be any different, especially seeing as how they (ICL) have approached the ICC for sanctioning.

  • aunks on June 24, 2008, 7:23 GMT

    The only way BCCI can be taught a lesson is by doing what they are trying to do with others. Bare the hit and command. ICC need to scrap them from major tournaments and lets see what happens then. The ultimate authority is ICC and not BCCI. Along with writing blogs, message should be sent directly to ICC... here is the link-

    I just sent mine...make sure you do too!

  • Sriram on June 24, 2008, 6:52 GMT

    Its actually sad to see this attitude of BCCI. I am sure there are a lot good players within the ICL league that can easily play for India. Who can ignore the likes of Ambatti Rayudu & Abhishek Jhunjhunwala? Its sad to note that they'll never ever be able to play test cricket for India, thanks to the bullying attitude of BCCI. I strongly feel ICL has done much better for local cricketers than IPL (In fact, IPL itself is a fall out of ICL). Its time BCCI sheds its ego and start working for the betterment of Indian Cricket. People like Sharad Pawar and Lalit Modi are forgetting the fact that Cricket Board is there for the betterment of Cricket in India rather than just being a money machine. God save Indian cricket.

  • Dunkin on June 24, 2008, 6:50 GMT

    Some people think that the way BCCI is treating ICL is just a business tactic. According to me, to call this a business is a clever use of words to hide one's unethical way of living. Even in business, when people are entirely motivated by one's profit, they don't usually try to waste the wealth/talents. They don't mind buying the talents from the rival companies, or the entire company. What's happening between BCCI and ICL isn't this kind of business rivalry. It is a hatred for ICL. The BCCI isn't concerned about making profit, but in crushing the rivals. In fact, it is not lose of the ICL that one should be worried about, but the criminal wastage of talents. One needn't be that worried about the BCCI's single-minded concern for profit, but its unashamed hatred for the rivals.

    Our support to BCCI in this betrays our ignorance about business ethics, and it is to commit a sin that the future generations will never forget, nor forgive.


  • Paulose on June 24, 2008, 5:35 GMT

    It is pity that BCCI is interferig the matters of ECB .they must realise that the world cricket is not their puppet

  • No featured comments at the moment.