London: Giles Clarke, the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), is being sued by former IPL chief Lalit Modi for libel over an email he sent last year to Indian cricketing authorities warning of a plan to set up a rebel Twenty20 league in England.
"Clarke faces two separate libel actions: one from Modi, the founder of the Indian Premier League, and the other from IMG, the international sports marketing firm, both of whom deny they were involved in any plan to set up a rebel Twenty20 league in England," according to a report in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday.
The alleged plan called "Project Victoria" worth £1.2 billion ($1.87 billion) will be a key part of a libel case to be heard in England's High Court this summer between some of the most powerful figures in the sport, the report said.
The libel claims will be heard at a high court trial in July, which is set down for a month and expected to cost £2 million.
Documents lodged at the high court show Clarke's defence will allege IMG and Modi held discussions with leading English counties over a secret plan to introduce an IPL-style Twenty20 competition involving franchises rather than counties.
Modi and IMG counter that defence by claiming Clarke has lied in court documents in a "desperate attempt to exculpate himself," a claim Clarke denies.
The email that provoked the libel claims was sent by Clarke to the president of the Indian cricket board, Shashank Manohar, although IMG contends it was also copied to members of the ECB board and other officials. It was subsequently leaked to the media. Clarke denies being responsible for the leak to the media.