The ICC has granted ICL the opportunity to present its case for official sanction, and Subhash Chandra, the Indian businessman who owns the league, will meet ICC president David Morgan in London. The meeting is expected to take place in the first week of October after which Morgan will report back to the ICC's board of directors. The ICL will start its second season of domestic and international twenty20 tournaments on October 10.
"The ICL had previously written to the ICC requesting its approval and now it has asked for this meeting, to which we have agreed," Morgan said. "All members of the ICC board have been informed of this meeting and I will report back to those directors at the board's next meeting, in Dubai on October 14 and 15."
Himanshu Mody, the ICL's business head, said that they were still awaiting an official communiqué from the ICC on the meeting. "But we welcome the step they have taken in agreeing to meet us," Mody told Cricinfo.
It is learnt that Chandra, the owner of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited, which also owns the ICL, will be accompanied by members of the ICL management for the meeting during which the league will seek official sanction under Rule 32 of the ICC operations manual that pertains to authorised unofficial cricket.
Currently, the Stanford venture in the West Indies and the Hong Kong Sixes tournament operate under this rule, but the ICL's case is different as it has not been endorsed by the home board, the BCCI. The Indian board has, in fact, banned ICL players from all forms of official cricket and barred them from using any of its facilities.
Yet, the ICL has managed to remain in the news by unveiling its ninth team last week, the Dhaka Warriors, comprising 13 players from Bangladesh, including six with central contracts. It has also received unexpected support from Sri Lanka where the board last week lifted its domestic ban on six ICL players, including Marvan Atapattu, the former Sri Lanka captain, and allowed them to play in the Premier League tournament this season.
The ICL has been pressing the ICC unsuccessfully for official recognition of their unsanctioned venture for several months. Subsequently they requested the ICC for a meeting, and hinted at legal action if they ICC didn't accede to the request. The ICC, meanwhile, has held several meetings of a working group it set up early this year to study the legal aspects of unofficial cricket.
"All that has happened now is that the ICC has decided to hear Mr Chandra's point of view," a member of this working group told Cricinfo. "Everyone has the right to be heard. It doesn't mean that the ICC has to agree to that point of view, or agree to any proposal. Any further discussions on this will happen after Mr Morgan reports back to the board on this meeting."
An ICC press release said that it will be making no further comment on this matter at this time.