Sri Lanka news July 11, 2011

SLC officially postpones Sri Lanka Premier League

ESPNcricinfo staff

Sri Lanka Cricket has officially announced the postponement of the Sri Lanka Premier League to 2012, citing a lack of time to organise the tournament in the absence of Indian players as the main reason.

"Attempts to obtain the release of the Indian players were unsuccessful, causing a delay in the naming of the final composition of the SLPL teams which then had an impact on making related arrangements in an effective and timely manner," SLC said in a statement. "Therefore, SLC and the SLPL committee find that there is insufficient time to arrange a tournament of this magnitude this year, within the available window."

The Inter Provincial T20 tournament will be held in place of the SLPL, as ESPNcricinfo had first reported on July 7. The winner of that tournament will qualify for the Champions League T20 to be played in September.

The SLPL would have featured seven teams and was scheduled to kick off on July 19, with the final to be played on August 6. The tournament hit its first hurdle when the BCCI decided to withhold its permission to allow Indian players to take part on the grounds that Somerset Entertainment Ventures, which owned the commercial rights, would be handling the contracts for international players and that it could lead to complications, should disputes arise over payments.

In order to assuage the Indian board, SLC was willing to back the Indian players' contracts so that their financial interests were protected, but that was not enough to satisfy the BCCI. There have been suggestions that former IPL chairman Lalit Modi had a hand in the event, but SLC and Somerset have repeatedly denied the allegation, as has Modi.

The BCCI's decision meant the tournament did not have a broadcaster for the lucrative Indian market, a situation that made it much more difficult for the SLPL to find a secure financial footing. Adding to the sense of confusion, the SLC interim committee that had created the tournament was dissolved earlier this month by the sports ministry and a new panel was appointed in its place.

The Inter Provincial T20 tournament will begin on July 21, two days after the SLPL was scheduled to start, and end on July 31.