USA news January 25, 2013

USA's planned T20 league postponed

The proposed professional Twenty20 league in the USA, scheduled to be held in June and July 2013, has been postponed for a year because of operational reasons. However, the promoters are looking at a "major cricket event" in the coming season.

Neil Maxwell, a director of Cricket Holdings America LLC (CHA), which has been putting together the event, told ESPNcricinfo: "The league will be pushed out until 2014. There are a number of issues that have taken longer than anticipated to address. We are conscious of getting the product right, particularly in the area of venues.

"We are excited about the prospect of the league and, to this end, we are looking to stage another major cricket event this season to bridge the gap."

Gladstone Dainty, the president of the USA Cricket Association, confirmed the delay. "It's a fact that the T20 league will not get started until 2014. Instead a series of matches will played by international T20 teams later this year while we work on a quality T20 product."

But he denied suggestions the failure to stage the competition in 2013 would have serious implications for USACA's budget, telling ESPNcricinfo: "The financial impact on USACA should not be burdensome because USACA is still entitled to fees under the current agreement."

Rumours have been circulating for some time that organisers were facing a series of problems ranging from venues to problems attracting investors but these had always been denied.

However, at USACA's AGM in December Dainty admitted there were difficulties and indicated the board's partnership with Rajiv Podar, the primary investor supplying funding to USACA through CHA, might be coming to an end. Podar denied this, admitting to "minor delays" but insisting he did not envisage them being enough to end the league.

Dainty was due to meet Podar earlier this month regarding funding issues. If Podar has withdrawn then USACA would have to return advances he made to it which would pose serious issues as the board is in debt and has no significant revenue streams.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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