The Champions League Twenty20 has been thrown into confusion with Lalit Modi, the tournament chairman, saying the venue for the 2010 edition has not yet been decided - a direct contradiction of a public and detailed statement released hours earlier by the South African board saying they had been chosen as hosts.
"News that South Africa is hosting Champions League is incorrect. They are a hot contender definitely. Also who are invited to play is still to be decided," Modi said on his Twitter feed. "Many countries are in the running to host the Champions League. We will keep you posted as and when we decide." He went on to list Australia, England, India and the Middle East as the other possible contenders for the tournament.
In a press release later, Modi said: "We are delighted with Cricket South Africa conveying their immediate consent to host the second edition of the CLT20 today. Further acceptances are expected from other boards and then the governing council will take a final decision on the host country. We will have to evaluate venue availability, weather, pitches etc, amongst a host of other variables prior to finalising a host country for the league of champions. The governing council's decision will be conveyed to our fans very soon."
The CSA's statement - equally unambiguous - followed a board meeting on Friday. It said it had "accepted an invitation" for South Africa to host the 2010 Champions League Twenty20 from September 10-26. It was "our turn to host the tournament", it said, and added that it would be held at three venues - two would be the home grounds of the Standard Bank Pro20 finalists this year and one would be decided later.
"CSA is a shareholder in the Champions League, along with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Australian Cricket Association (ACA), and it is our turn to host the tournament," the release said.
Mtutuzeli Nyoka, the CSA president, was quoted in the release as saying: "This is a prestigious tournament involving seven of the world's top cricket nations. It will be another feather in South Africa's cap as a host of world-class sports events and will not clash in any way with the FIFA World Cup 2010. It will also be a big boost to the local franchises, their players and supporters which will feature in the tournament."
The CSA release also said "the 12-team tournament comprises the top sides in the domestic limited-overs competitions in the following countries" and mentioned the number of participants from each country, which did not include a team from Pakistan. Modi, however, said who would be invited to play was not yet decided. "Invitation to CL will be decided at next Governing Council meeting," he said on Twitter. "Number of teams to play also will be decided then. The dates are confirmed."
The participation of England players and county teams remains in doubt, for the tournament clashes with England's home one-day series against Pakistan, the final two rounds of County Championship matches, plus the semi-finals and final of the ECB40 competition. Modi had said the dates were the only window available for the event, as India are due to play Australia in a one-day series in early October, and hoped the ECB could make minor adjustments to their domestic schedule, which the ECB chairman, Giles Clarke, ruled out.
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.
South Africa had hosted the IPL in 2009, after the tournament was moved out of India as it clashed with the country's general elections.