County news February 8, 2007

Friends Provident to sponsor England's one-day knockout

Cricinfo staff

Friends Provident, the FTSE100 life and pensions company, has been unveiled as the new sponsor of England's main domestic one-day competition, which is to be known as the Friends Provident Trophy. The deal, worth £2 million over three years, will run from 2007 until the end of the 2009 domestic season.

John Perera, the ECB's commercial director said: "We are delighted that Friends Provident has decided to sponsor the Trophy and extend their influence in cricket. Friends Provident has been a supporter of cricket through their partnership with the Test-match grounds for some time now and I am pleased that they have become a major domestic competition sponsor."

The new sponsors take over from the building society, Cheltenham & Gloucester, who put their name to the trophy for seven seasons from 2000 to 2006. "We are proud to be sponsoring such a prestigious competition," said Simon Clamp, managing director, Marketing and UK Distribution, at Friends Provident. "This is a great opportunity to build on existing involvement with international cricket and we are looking forward to building a long and mutually beneficial relationship with the ECB."

As a fifty-over competition, it is the only domestic tournament that replicates the international one-day format and its importance is well-recognised by international players."The Friends Provident Trophy gives us great experience for our one-day international matches," said Jon Lewis, whose Gloucestershire side have dominated the competition since the start of the decade. "Coming as it does at the beginning of the season is brilliant because it means we get enough 50 overs games in ahead of the home international series."

The competition will be officially launched in April and the Friends Provident Trophy gets underway on Sunday April 22, with both semi-finals due to be held on Wednesday June 20. The final will be held at Lord's on Saturday August 18.