Carib Beer ends West Indies sponsorship

Reports that Carib Beer has withdrawn its sponsorship of the Caribbean's first-class competition have been confirmed by the West Indies Cricket Board.
This is the second major sponsorship to have been lost this season after the board was forced to step in to cover the costs of the one-day tournament following the decision by KFC not to renew its contract.

"The previous sponsor of the regional tournament was unable to meet the projected cost of sponsorship and consequently informed the WICB that 'the unpredictable nature of the 2009 economy' made it difficult to sponsor the tournament this year," a release from the WICB said, adding that it would "finance the entire regional tournament through its own cricket development funds".

"Local sponsors indicated that they were unable to cover more than 12% of the cost of the regional tournament, leaving the WICB with no choice but to fund the tournament in its entirety."

While the general format of the competition will remain unaffected, for this season at least, there will be no final between the two leading sides in the league table.

The cost to the board is likely to run over a million dollars, although even with a sponsor the board usually picked up more than half of this anyway.

While it will look to downplay the impact of the withdrawal, the board will be recoiling from yet another major financial setback. Aside from the loss of two major tournament sponsors, Allen Stanford has made clear his intention to reduce his commitment to West Indies' cricket, largely because of the conduct of the board.