Reliance to own a team in UAE-based T20 league
Akash Ambani "confident of shaping another successful brand in the UAE and bring in our experiences to benefits the growth of cricket in the UAE"
Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), the owners of the Mumbai Indians IPL franchise, has confirmed that it will own one of the teams in the upcoming UAE T20 League.
"We are extremely proud to have created a global franchise in Mumbai Indians, integrated with high values and ethos and our contribution to the Indian cricket ecosystem," Akash Ambani, owner of Mumbai Indians, said in a statement. "We are equally confident of shaping another successful brand in the UAE and bring in our experiences to benefits the growth of cricket in the UAE."
The six-team league has been sanctioned by the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) and is looking to make room for itself in the January-February window, although its inaugural edition in 2022 is likely to be played in February-March.
Although the ECB has provided the sanction to the league, it is being spearheaded by a team led by the board's vice-chairman, Khalid Al Zarooni, general secretary Mubashir Usmani, and Subhan Ahmed, who is an advisor to the board and formerly a senior PCB official. They will oversee an operational team that is likely to include former IMG officials.
Usmani welcomed Mumbai Indians' association with the UAE T20 League. "The trust being shown by prominent business houses in the UAE T20 League is extremely encouraging," he said. "We are pleased with RIL's association with the League as a franchise team owner. Having seen the professionalism in the operations of Mumbai Indians in the IPL, their success in putting together the most successful team in franchise cricket and the passion with which they pursue their goals, we are very confident that this association will be mutually beneficial for both RIL and the League and will support cricket development in UAE."
According to an official involved in the planning of the league, the owners of the Knight Riders franchise are "on-board" to own one of the sides as well. Other potential team owners include the Glazer family, owners of Manchester United, Capri Global, who recently bid for an IPL franchise but failed, the Big Bash League's Sydney Sixers, and Kiran Kumar Grandhi, a co-owner of Delhi Capitals.
The Knight Riders group also have a team in the CPL (Trinbago Knight Riders) and in December 2020, they bought a "significant" stake in the USA-based Major League Cricket competition.