New Delhi:Flexing its muscle, the BCCI on Sunday made it clear that English counties having players from the rebel Indian Cricket League would not be allowed to participate in the inaugural Champions Twenty20 Tournament to be held in India in September-October.
The BCCI Working Committee, which met here, decided that English counties with ICL players would be barred from the USD 10-million event, to be run and managed by the Indian Board which will have 50 per cent stake in the venture.
The tournament will feature top two teams from the domestic Twenty20 tournaments from Australia, Pakistan, South Africa and England, besides India.
"The working committee approved the proposal to jointly organise the Champions T20 tournament in late September and early October (this year) involving Australia, South Africa, India and Pakistan. Clubs from England who qualify can play provided the teams do not include players who are with ICL," BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said.
Board vice-president and Indian Premier League Commissioner Lailt Modi issued a veiled threat to the England Cricket Board saying that BCCI will not participate in any tournament which will have ICL players in it.
"The rules and structure of the tournament will be framed by Cricket Australia while BCCI, which will be 50 per cent partner in the venture, will run and manage it.
"But BCCI's participation is 100 per cent dependent on no participation by ICL players in that tournament. That has been the condition put forward by us. It is very clear from the BCCI perspective that the rules of a tournament in which the Indian Board will participate cannot allow ICL players to take part in it," he said.
Modi said the Working Committee took up a proposal sent by ECB regarding their problem on this issue, but the BCCI would stick to its stand.
"ECB had sent their suggestions to us that they cannot restrict ICL players in their counties from participating in the tournament. But we will stick to our stand that our participation is conditional on that."
Asked whether there is a possibility that ECB may not take part in the event because of this issue, Modi retorted, "That is for the ECB to decide. If that is the case, it will be very sad."
"If they (ECB) have to go by their laws, we also have to go tournament rules. BCCI is very clear that we cannot take part in a tournament where there are ICL players."
Board Secretary Niranjan Shah even went to the extent of saying that ECB will have to change their policy if they want to take part in the tournament.
"ECB will have to change their policy. They will not be allowed to take part in the tournament if they send teams which have ICL players," he said.
Modi, however, said he expects a consensus on the issue when all the organising boards discuss the matter in Dubai next week.
"All the other boards have already given their approval. Only the BCCI approval was remaining. We gave the approval today. I hope there will be consensus on the ICL player issue in the ICC Executive Board meeting in Dubai next week. Then we will commence the formalities to stage the event.
"From the second edition onwards, we will try to hold it in Middle East, Australia, South Africa and England," Modi said.
The prize pool of the tournament will be 10 million dollars. The winner will get 5 million dollar, the losing finalist 2.5 million dollar and the two semifinalists will pocket 1.25 million dollar each. Asked about the availability of players for the tournament because of the crammed international schedule, Modi said only a couple of national team players will be involved in the short tournament.
"We can squeeze the tournament in September-October as it will have only nine or ten days' duration. It will not impact the whole of national teams. The impact will be limited to only one or two national squad players of each country," he said.
Meanwhile, the BCCI working committee also discussed the proposed ICC World Test Championship and Modi said the Board will decide on the ambitious venture on a later date after taking into account various factors.
In another decision, Delhi has been awarded a Test match in Australia's four-match Test series tour to India starting October 9.
"We offered the Test to Delhi and DDCA has accepted it," Board vice-president Rajiv Shukla said.
Shukla also informed that the Board has sanctioned 50,000 dollar for improvement of cricket in China.
The working committee also reviewed the Indian Premier League and placed on record the efforts of BCCI vice-President Lalit Modi and his team in making the tournament a success.
The committee also approved the schedule of women's team's cricket tour to England and Australia.