Lalit Modi, the IPL chairman and commissioner, has firmly ruled out the possibility of any team that includes cricketers associated with the unauthorised Indian Cricket League (ICL) participating in the proposed Champions League Twenty20 tournament, even if these players are dropped just for the event. This implies that those cricketers cannot play even in the domestic tournaments that serve as the qualifying stages for the Champions League.
It's a scenario that could open up a host of legal issues in England, with the possibility of players suing their counties if they are dropped from the Twenty20 sides. Alternatively, it could mean that most of the English county teams will not be eligible for the proposed US$ 5 million event that is expected to feature the top two Twenty20 domestic teams from India, England, Australia and South Africa. Currently, there are around 25 players, spread over 15 of the 18 county teams, with official links to the ICL.
"We are very clear on that," Modi, who is a major force behind the Champions League, told Cricinfo. Asked if counties with ICL players would be invited if they drop these players for the event, Modi said, "No, even that is not possible. Only teams that have no ties at all with ICL players will be invited... others are automatically disqualified."
The ECB had on Saturday issued a press release which said that the ECB, Cricket Australia, the BCCI and Cricket South Africa had "reached an agreement for the staging of the inaugural Champions League this autumn" to be staged either in India or the Middle East.
An ECB spokesman told Cricinfo that Cricket Australia were drawing up the rules for the competition and "it would be wrong to prejudge their decision". It is expected that the regulations will be finalised during the ICC annual conference in Dubai at the end of the month.
However, Modi indicated today that the ECB's press release did not present the final picture and was issued earlier than expected. He said details of participating teams, venues and possible dates were yet to be finalised and all that had been formalised was just an "in-principle agreement" to host such an event.