Sri Lankan cricket October 10, 2008

SLC look for $70-million BCCI bailout

The Sri Lanka Cricketers' Association (SLCA) and sports minister Gamini Lokuge have finalised a proposal that could bring in $70 million for Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) over the next 10 years but will seriously undermine Sri Lanka's Test tour of England. The proposal, which will be presented to the BCCI, will require the full participation of SLC within the IPL and its sister tournament, the Champions League, for the next decade.

The proposed deal follows the recent decision by Lokuge that the Sri Lankan players contracted to the IPL will be released from the tour of England following the cancellation of Zimbabwe's tour to England.

SLC officials admitted it would be impossible to hold the the two-Test series in England. "The series is definitely off since it has not yet been ratified by the ECB and still remains subject to its approval. So, there is absolutely no chance they are now going to sanction the series against a virtual Sri Lanka A side," a board official said.

However, the officials offered the ECB a three-match ODI series after May 25 and were also considering an invitation to play in a Stanford 20/20 tournament prior to the World Twenty20 in June.

"We have a signed contract with SLC in which we agree to play two Tests and three ODIs" an ECB spokesman told Cricinfo. "We have had no other contact from SLC."

The SLCA had discussed the England tour issue directly with IPL chairman Lalit Modi in Mumbai two weeks ago, during which Modi unveiled his plans for Sri Lanka, conditional upon SLC pledging full support for the IPL and the Champions League, the only exception being Sri Lanka's tour to England in 2011.

The financial commitment will include an annual payment of between US$3-4 million for participating in the Champions League starting from 2009. India will also try to replay the cancelled 2006 tri-series featuring Sri Lanka and South Africa at some stage next year. An additional tri-series, worth an estimated $18 million, has been pledged for 2010 as well.

The fine-print of the deal will be discussed at a meeting in Mumbai on October 19 between the BCCI and a Sri Lankan delegation which will include an official from the sports ministry, SLC chief executive Duleep Mendis and Graeme Labrooy, the secretary of the SLCA.

The final proposal will be presented to SLC and the sports minister for ratification.

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