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ICC raises concerns over Stanford plan

The International Cricket Council has given a lukewarm response to the proposal from the Texan billionaire, Allen Stanford, who hopes to host a $23 million Twenty20 tournament in the West Indies next year

Cricinfo staff

Australia may find themselves taking part in Allen Stanford's next tournament © Getty Images
The International Cricket Council has warned that a proposal from the Texan billionaire, Allen Stanford, who hopes to host a $23 million Twenty20 tournament in the West Indies next year, will only be given the go-ahead if all parties are satisfied with the arrangements.
"Our members have raised genuine concerns about the concept and have asked ICC to act as an intermediary and help manage discussions between Mr Stanford and the potential host of the matches, the West Indies Cricket Board," said the ICC chief executive, Malcolm Speed.
"The members recognise the potential benefits of the tournament for the development of cricket in the West Indies. At the same time they wish to ensure that their participation in any event such as this will benefit as many of the game's stakeholders as possible to help facilitate its continuing strong growth."
On Saturday, The Australian newspaper reported that Stanford had approached Australia for a week-long Twenty20 knockout also involving India, South Africa and Sri Lanka. The winners would then take on the Stanford Super Stars, a West Indian XI consisting of the best players in the inter-island domestic Twenty20 tournament.
Cricket Australia has said it would consider the proposal subject to ICC approval, although today's statement from the governing body suggests that there remain some reservations. The West Indies board met the ICC last week to discuss the event and the issues of payment and the countries involved.
According to the ICC's Future Tours Programme, Australia need to complete a Test and ODI series in the Caribbean by June 30, 2008. And under the current provisions, as laid out in the recent ICC executive meeting at Lord's, each nation may play a maximum of seven Twenty20 fixtures per year, and two in any one series.
"[The ICC] are keen to ensure any tournament is, wherever possible, consistent with the aims of the current Future Tours Program in terms of both player workload and the existing cap on Twenty20 internationals," Speed said. "Our members also wish to ensure any arrangement is consistent with the ICC's ongoing broadcasting agreement with ESPN STAR Sports governing multi-team events."
Stanford's original inter-island tournament in 2006 was a massive success, raising cricket's profile in the West Indies to a level that the recent World Cup didn't come close to matching. "The key is to achieve a result that is in the best interests of the game as a whole and," Speed said. "To that end, discussions will continue ahead of the ICC board's next meeting, set to take place in Dubai in late October."