England and West Indies benefit June 11, 2008

Stanford reveals US$100 million deal

Cricinfo staff

The winner takes it all: Allen Stanford reveals all at Lord's © Stanford 20/20

Antigua-based billionaire Allen Stanford has confirmed that he will be investing US$100 million in a series of Twenty20 matches over the next five years which will make England and West Indies players among the highest paid in the game.

The deal, announced at a slick media conference at Lord's, will centre on five US$20 million games between England and a Stanford All-Stars XI, drawn from the Caribbean, at his purpose-built ground in Antigua. The first of these will be held on November 1, Antigua Independence Day, before England head to India.

"I see the Stanford 20/20 as a fantastic opportunity for current players in the Stanford 20/20 tournament to take a giant leap into the spotlight and gain exposure to top class opposition," Stanford said. "The Stanford 20/20 for 20 [million dollars] will be a highly anticipated event, not just because of the prize money, but because of the traditional friendly rivalry that exists between England and the West Indies."

"The winner goes home happy, the loser goes home unhappy. We had to create something that had never been done before and take cricket to the previous level in the Caribbean, we've not been running our sport at a professional level."

There were concerns with the winner-takes-all format proposed by Stanford but those seem to have been resolved. A deal will mean that if England win, each of the XI will receive US$1 million, the rest of the squad share US$1 million, and the management team splits another US$1 million. The remaining US$7 million will be shared between the ECB and the West Indies Cricket Board, regardless of the outcome of the match itself.

The sums exceed those available for all but the top-paid players in the IPL, and, for the England cricketers, will also come on top of their existing ECB central contracts.

Giles Clarke, the chairman of the ECB, brushed aside suggestions the deal was pandering to the players in light of the distractions offered by the IPL. "I'm not seeing a great deal of worry in the dressing room about finances and we are not trying to appease them," he said. "It gives them a chance to perform under pressure and to make money beyond the dreams of some of their predecessors."

Stanford initially offered South Africa a winner-takes-all match in 2006 but their board declined. A similar offer to India, with a bigger pot, was also dismissed.

Aside from the five matches, it is reported that Stanford will put up US$9.5 million a year for five annual quadrangular events to be held in England from next year. England and West Indies will always be involved in these.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ravi on June 17, 2008, 2:15 GMT

    Don't replace the word Cricket with Earnings, be it as professional game. This is going to spoil the culture on and off the field. Test Cricket neeb to be survived, as this is one format of the game where you can see the real stars. With the implementation of such a new(20-20) formts and with the offerings, Players feel comfartable with the earnings and the improvement cannot be seen in the players. Some may retire from playing to the nation as the player has got alternative. "Please save the CRICKET".

  • anmol on June 13, 2008, 9:19 GMT

    ECB is going great . Cricket is evolving. IPL was good ,ICL was good and Stanford will also sure be. But, we all want IPL to shed its arrogance and grant ICL legal sanction and understand it can also have competitors . At last I say that cricket is the best game.

  • The on June 13, 2008, 1:05 GMT

    At the risk of being the first to mention the sub-prime crisis on Cricinfo, what it did tell us is that people overpaying big $ usually ends in tears for a lot more people than just the culprits. Either $100m is a fair price, in which case they are planning on extracting $100m somehow, or it's a silly price that will have unforeseen fallout when they lose it.

  • Wayne on June 12, 2008, 22:31 GMT

    It seems to me that Allen Stanford is only trying to boost his ego by being the one to offer the biggest prize for a cricket game. I guess we do not have all the information but I cannot see how those matches will benefit West Indies cricket. What is needed is a strong development program in the WI that will harness the raw potential of our youths and help them to mature into test material. That money would have been better spent on establishing a cricket academy or reviving the one that was started by the St. George's University in Grenada. Why not open academies in the different territories? The main reason for the demise of the Shell Academy was the lack of sponsorship and here is US$100 being spent on 5 games. Another project could be the establishment of a professional league that would involve more players than currently are involved in the domestic competition. Why not have a professional league where teams can buy players from other islands?

  • SANDIPANROY on June 12, 2008, 20:21 GMT

    A couple of things that I am just wondering about. Firstly, the quality of talent currently existing in the pool of players for England & West Indies is nothing great to write home about. In the IPL tournament, IPL franchises managed to have drafted some world-class players. plus a bunch of young "thoroughbred" cricketers of India have shown a lot of talent and promise. Secondly, let's wait and see how the caste of Modis, Powars, Shahs, et all reacts. So far, they haven't made one iota comment unlike the way they went hard at ICL.

  • George on June 12, 2008, 19:11 GMT

    The people comparing this farrago with football are missing two clear points. As a football fan, i can speak from personal experience, and from many other sources, that the current state of the game, awash with money and fatuous television deals, and glory hunting faux fans, is a source of ceaseless disgruntlement to anyone who actually cares about the game. It hasn't helped football, it has made a lot of people very very rich, but meant the actual development of the sport has suffered away from the harsh light of the big clubs and their media sauna, and made prices rocket to a point where the old school fan can barely afford to attend. Secondly, football as a sport is still 90 minutes, 11 vs 11, the fundamental nature of the contest hasn't been altered, T20 takes cricket inexorably closer to Baseball each time, as sure as the walls of the trash compactor in Star Wars came in, as sure as boundary ropes do the same. my enjoyment is not increased by the players financial benefits.

  • Venkat on June 12, 2008, 18:51 GMT

    Imagine the standard of cricket IPL gave! Who could have not relished the last ball finish for the tournament! Who could have not felt proud of a weakling murdering the kings and knights as a unit! Now that was quality cricket! Who said IPL was all of money! I personally believe that this was a good platform for youngsters all over the world! See, we got Ojha,Gony,Chawla,Yo Mahesh,Dhawan,Y Pathan flaunting their talent against the biggies! Now they didn't get paid much of IPL! Only the heavy weights and the hyped one's got it! These guys came out shining! Shaun Marsh was a classic, Watson was called back, Tanvir was simply outstanding! Could you have ever seen Dravid bat like a manic? Could you have ever seen Tanvir cheered like super star in Chennai? Who could have felt better than Shane Warne who captained and marched the team lowest investment to the top notch? Stop blaming IPL you critics! It got the best out of the young and upcoming, and was a big energizer for the smart and experience!

  • Venkat on June 12, 2008, 18:35 GMT

    Hey this is funny! I think this is a very very desperate attempt made by the ECB to revive its cricket! Blame it on their players! They just cant play good cricket! They are not entertaining enough! 20$ for 5 matches ?? This is lame! It would have served better reviving the stadias and the clubs of Windies! Wake up guys! Just look at it! Its a desperate act by Stanford to take the game to USA! Not for the sport! He doesn't know cricket! He is just a business man who gets his money in! Its just dumb! Its good for the county, yeah! But if the county guys get hold of such money! They would never come back! They would start living on interest! Sorry to say this! Indeed IPL had loopholes ! But only big names or potentially big names got big money! IPL prize money was sort of ok! Imagine how they had to play,live every ball they were in the pitch! they thoroughly deserve that! But this Stanford is spoiling a good bunch of upcoming Lara's and Botham's ! Accept it ECB !

  • fazle on June 12, 2008, 17:18 GMT

    With a portion of the money spent on the "legal" IPL, the people living in the squalor of Mumbai's slums could get clean water for a change.

    Money has ruined the chastity of the game, and we all know who is to blame.

  • fazle on June 12, 2008, 17:09 GMT

    I think it is high time someone put the BCCI in its place. They act as if they own world cricket ! For a fraction of the obscene amounts spent on the IPL , the ICL was almost as enjoyable and entertaining, thanks no less to the Lahore Badshahs. And now the BCCI have the temerity to make everything other than IPL a "rebel" affair ! Shame on you BCCI. don't tinker with the player's rights to their trade.

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