The 2013 ICC Champions Trophy, to be held in England, will be the last time the tournament is played as the ICC moves towards having one championship for each of the game's three formats from 2015. The tournament is part of the Future Tours Program in 2013 but does not appear after that, with the play-offs for the World Test Championship scheduled for June 2017.
"If you don't see it in the schedule, it means it is not planned for the future," Haroon Lorgat, the ICC's chief executive, said at a press conference following the executive board meeting on Monday. "We have said for a while that we would like one championship event for each format. We are including the Test championship in there. We have the World Cup to have the champion for 50-overs cricket. So we are not planning to hold Champions Trophy in the future."
The World Test Championship was initially scheduled for 2013, but had to be postponed due to the ICC's commitments to its broadcaster and sponsors. The ICC's broadcast partner is ESPN STAR Sports*, with whom they have a contract till 2015. The ICC had initially hoped to convince all interested parties to switch the Champions Trophy, the ICC's second-biggest 50-over tournament, to play-offs between the top four Test teams as per the ICC Test rankings.
However, after the ICC's executive board meeting in October, 2011, it released a statement saying there would be significant commercial challenges in replacing the Champions Trophy without the support and consent of the ICC's broadcast partner. Changing the tournament's format from ODIs to Test play-offs would have required a substantial cut in the broadcast rights fee, which would have repercussions on the Members.
Inaugurated as the ICC Knock Out tournament in 1998, the Champions Trophy was played every two years until 2009, switching to a round-robin format in 2002. Originally, all ten Full members of the International Cricket Council (ICC) took part, together with (for the first four competitions) two Associate members. The 2013 event in England will feature the eight highest-ranked ODI teams calculated six months before the tournament.
*ESPN STAR Sports is a 50:50 joint venture between Walt Disney (ESPN, Inc.), the parent company of ESPNcricinfo, and News Corporation Limited (STAR)
Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo