The West Indies cricket board is preparing to launch its franchise-based Twenty20 league in 2013 and they have finalised an agreement with Verus International, a Barbados-based merchant bank, for funding the competition.

The league is likely to comprise six Caribbean city-based franchises with the majority of players from the West Indies.

As part of the arrangement, the WICB will receive annual funding for additional retainer contracts for players. The board currently funds 20 annual retainer contracts.

"A significant number of players at the regional level will benefit through greater financial stability both from playing in the league and from year-round retainer contracts while having an international platform on which to showcase their skills and talent," Dr Julian Hunte, the WICB president, said.

"Most importantly, the league will bring a huge financial injection into the Caribbean and create significant job opportunities across the region in a wide cross section of sectors."

Ernest Hilaire, the former chief executive of the WICB, had initially revealed that a "commercial Twenty20" league in the Caribbean was in the works in September. Last month, Hilaire's successor, Michael Muirhead, said negotiations for staging the inaugural Caribbean Premier League were on track and that "might mean that the regional T20 cricket tournament might have to be done away with".