London: The ECB may prevent counties from playing in the Champions League Twenty20 unless payments are made up front, according to a report in the UK's Telegraph.
The board insists that the two counties that qualify for the qualification stage of the tournament - which will be the winners of the two Friends life T20 semi-finals; Lancashire v Leicestershire, and Hampshire v Somerset - have to receive the money to cover their costs from the tournament organisers before they are allowed to compete in the tournament that starts in September.
Many of the teams that played in the first two Champions Leagues have either not received their payment on time or in full. Somerset and Sussex played in the inaugural 2009 Champions League in India, while no English county played in the second event, in South Africa in 2010, after a dispute between the ECB and the tournament organisers over scheduling.
Richard Gould, who was Somerset's chief executive when they went to the Champions League in 2009 and is now Surrey's, told the Telegraph: ''The payment was late but was paid eventually, within about five months, and it was paid in full minus about 20% Indian government tax.''
The Champions League is currently given a window in the Future Tours Programme, unlike the Indian Premier League which is regarded purely as a domestic competition.
The qualification stage of the third tournament starts in Hyderabad on September 19, with both English counties scheduled to play the following day. Only teams from India, South Africa and Australia have been given direct berths in the main stages of the tournament, with teams from all other countries having to qualify first.