Champions League Twenty20 August 14, 2008

Champions League will start on December 3

Cricinfo staff

The start of the three-Test series between South Africa and Australia has moved to create an adequate window for the Champions League © AFP

The inaugural Champions League Twenty20 will be played between December 3 and 10, instead of October, the organisers - the boards of India, Australia and South Africa - have announced. To accommodate the change, the first Test between Australia and South Africa in Perth has been pushed back from December 12 to December 17.

The eight-team tournament was initially due to begin on September 29, the reserve day of the Champions Trophy final, but the ICC was unhappy with its timing, given its close proximity to the Pakistan event. It asked the three founding members of the Champions League to rethink the programme.

No other international fixtures have been scheduled on those dates, allowing all players to participate, although the domestic seasons of Australia and South Africa will have to be rearranged. The tournament has been sandwiched between India's seventh one-dayer against England and the first Test in Ahmedabad, games which start a day before and after the tournament respectively.

"We are happy that we were able to find a window during the first week of December," Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, said. "There was a gap in between the one-day internationals and Tests [in India] against the touring England squad, which will enable both the Rajasthan Royals and the Chennai Super Kings (the IPL finalists) to regroup and focus on the Champions League."

Gerald Majola and James Sutherland, the chief executives of the South African and Australian boards respectively, said they had consulted the players, players' associations and the Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) - the hosts of the Perth Test - before deciding the dates.

"We were pleased with the WACA's reaction that the new playing dates offer local fans, including corporate groups wanting to entertain at the cricket, good dates for pre-Christmas Test match enjoyment," Sutherland said. "We also took feedback from players that the changes could be accommodated without compromising what will be a defacto World Test Cricket Championship bout between Australian and South Africa during December and January."

Majola told Cricinfo that the organisers have "conveyed the new dates to the ICC and they are fine with it". The venues and commercial partnership details will be finalised in the coming weeks.

The Champions Twenty 20 League comprises the Twenty20 domestic finalists from India , Australia and South Africa, Pakistan's winner Sialkot and England's champion Middlesex. The competition was announced on July 30, with a total prize money of US$6 million which will be shared between all teams.