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Page last updated at 22:40 GMT, Monday, 22 September 2008 23:40 UK

Row threatens $20m Stanford match

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The ECB has signed a $100m five-year deal with Stanford

The $20m (11.5m) Stanford Super Series match between England and a Caribbean team could be under threat because of a commercial dispute.

Digicel, sponsors of the West Indies Cricket Board, are involved in a rights row with the organisers of the world's richest game, scheduled for 1 November.

It has led to a High Court hearing being scheduled in London next month.

But a Stanford spokesman said: "We are confident the match will take place. Full-scale planning is going on."

Digicel believes its five-year deal with the WICB covers the match in Antigua, which will see a Stanford Superstars XI take on Kevin Pietersen's England with every member of the winning side guaranteed to become a dollar millionaire.

It is the first of five matches which will take place under agreements between Texan billionaire Sir Allen Stanford, the WICB and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

The organisers insist the Superstars are not an official side and the agreement with Digicel does not apply.

"The ICC [International Cricket Council] and ECB have confirmed they do not consider the Stanford Superstars team to be a West Indies team," a statement read.

"Stanford 20/20 is not willing to gift to Digicel valuable rights to which it is simply not entitled and which Stanford 20/20 intends to sell as part of a sponsor package for the Stanford Super Series."

The disagreement is believed to focus on whether Digicel's logo will appear on the Stanford team's clothing.

"(Digicel) have demanded that their logo appears on the Stanford Superstars shirt in the same way they appear on the West Indies shirts," said a Stanford spokesman.

"The sticking point is they want that at no extra cost. We are not happy to do that."

Weekend talks intended to find a compromise broke down and the matter - between Digicel and the WICB - will now go to the High Court for arbitration.

If Digicel wins the case, the match could then become unsanctioned, though a later statement from the organisers sought to play down fears the match might have to be called off.

"Whilst Stanford 20/20 is frustrated by Digicel's behaviour, it is nothing more than an unwelcome distraction and Stanford 20/20 will not be derailed from moving ahead with preparations for a successful Stanford Super Series," it read.

"It's a matter for the West Indies Cricket Board," said an ECB spokesman, who declined to comment further.

The England squad is due to travel to the Caribbean on 24 October.

The week-long event will see both sides play warm-up matches against Trinidad and Tobago and county side Middlesex, the winners of England's Twenty20 Cup, before meeting in the final winner-takes-all showdown.

see also
Sammy gets late Stanford call-up
19 Sep 08 |  West Indies
England bag 50m Twenty20 bonanza
11 Jun 08 |  Cricket
Stanford plans global expansion
12 Jun 08 |  Cricket

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