Mumbai:Enthused by the individual successes of their domestic Twenty20 Leagues and the overwhelming global acceptance of the DLF Indian Premier League, organised by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, KFC Big Bash Twenty20 organised by Cricket Australia and the Standard Bank Pro20 conducted by Cricket South Africa, the three boards have reached an agreement to stage the inaugural "Champions Twenty20" later this year.
The Champions Twenty20 League will be a collaboration by the three cricketing boards to build on the success of their domestic Twenty20 leagues in an effort to accelerate the development of cricket globally.
Importantly, this would mark the introduction of a long-awaited football-style Champions League format for cricket, which will pit the best-of-the-best clubs in domestic cricket globally against each other.
"The success of the DLF Indian Premier League has undoubtedly captured the imagination of cricket supporters from around the world. It will provide teams with the opportunity to earn the title of World Club Champions in a format which will be eagerly anticipated by spectators and players alike," said Lalit Modi, Chairman & Commissioner, Indian Premier League and Vice President, BCCI.
The ten-day inaugural tournament will be played from September 29 to October 8, 2008. The eight teams will be representing the finalists in the various domestic leagues, as per regulations of the League.
The eight teams will play 15 matches in the inaugural Champions Twenty20. The number will move up to 12 teams playing 23 matches from year two. The eight teams will be divided into two groups of four teams each.
"This fantastic new competition gives our best state cricketers, and their equivalents in other competitions, a chance to pit their skills against champions from other countries," said James Sutherland, Chief Executive, Cricket Australia.
After the preliminary league matches, the top two teams from each group will qualify for the semi-finals and their winners will clash in the grand finale.
Teams will be competing for a prize pool of US$6 million in the Champions Twenty20.
At the meeting today, the regulations concerning the league, the business plan, the governance model, the shareholding pattern and the commercial aspects including the tender process relating to the League have been approved.
"The Champions Twenty20 League is an idea whose time has come. I am certain this competition will significantly enhance the international stature of domestic cricket and pave the way for greater involvement of cricketers," said Gerald Majola, Chief Executive, Cricket South Africa.
The Champions Twenty20 League is the first attempt of this type of concept in cricket and is aimed at producing more players capable of competing at the highest level.
The Twenty20 Champions League's mission will be to promote and develop cricket from the grassroots level upwards and promote the spirit of cricket among all the players and participating teams.