Lalit Modi, the Champions League Twenty20 commissioner, has asked the ECB to make "minor adjustments" to its county schedule to enable English participation in the 2010 tournament. Modi's comments came a day after he announced the tournament schedule, which clashes with the last fortnight of the English domestic season and almost rules out county teams from taking part as they did last year.
The tournament is scheduled to be played between September 10-26; the dates, Modi said, were dictated by the countries' pre-committed series in the ICC's existing FTP.
Although there is only one international bilateral series scheduled at that time - the ODI series between England and Pakistan, ending on September 22 - the ECB's main grouse is that the dates coincide with the final two rounds of the County Championship as well as the semi-finals and final of a new 40-over league.
"We hope the ECB will be able to prepone their domestic tournament and be able to participate by making this minor adjustment to their schedule," Modi told Cricinfo. Doing that, he said, would provide an opportunity to the top two English domestic Twenty20 winners to participate in the world club championships, where US$6 million is up for grabs, with US$2.5 million going to the winners.
However, the ECB chairman Giles Clarke, who is currently in Dubai for ICC meetings, is understood to have ruled out, at this stage, the possibility of making any alterations to England's domestic schedule, not least because of the impact such a move would have on the ECB's existing sponsorship agreements.
"The climax of the English county season is of critical importance to the ECB," a spokesman told Cricinfo. "We would be very reluctant to change a schedule that was agreed between the ECB, broadcasters and the counties themselves."
Modi also denied an ECB statement that it was not consulted over the dates. "[This is] not true," Modi said, adding that Dean Kino, a member of the Champions League governing council, "is and has been in touch with [David] Collier [the ECB chief executive] on a regular basis since December ."
The Champions League Twenty20 is run by the boards of India, Australia and South Africa and its governing council comprises representatives from each board. Other countries participate in the tournament by invitation.
Modi said the scheduling is always complicated due to the fact that the Champions League timings are adjusted according to the international schedules in an existing FTP. "Given that Australia's tour to India begins on October 2 and other countries also have pre-committed FTP games it was the only window available this year," Modi explained.
"We will always endeavour to accommodate all countries as far as possible, and the governing council looked at all possibilities and decided that these were the only dates."
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Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo