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Page last updated at 09:24 GMT, Friday, 25 April 2008 10:24 UK

England close to Twenty20 revamp

Kent win the 2007 Twenty20 Cup
The Twenty20 Cup, won by Kent in 2007, could be a thing of the past

The England and Wales Cricket Board is on course to create its own version of the Indian Premier League by 2010, says chief executive David Collier.

Collier told BBC Radio Four that talks with billionaire investor Sir Allen Stanford were "well advanced".

"We've had some very positive and constructive discussions with Sir Allen during the last week," said Collier.

"I think Sir Allen has certainly mentioned 2010 and I think that's the more likely (date)."

In an interview with BBC Sport, Stanford suggested a new English Twenty20 competition must come into force no later than 2010 or risk losing his backing.

"We're looking for no later than 2010," said the Texan.

"If I was to make a more aggressive bet I would say 2009. But no later than 2010 or they've missed the boat.

"We all know that and I don't think the British are going to miss the boat."

David Collier
The discussions we've had regarding one-off internationals are particularly important

David Collier, ECB chief executive

Stanford, who runs his own Twenty20 tournament in the Caribbean, was in London this week for talks with the ECB and believes an English Premier League could be worth as much as 500m.

When asked if the ECB were moving towards a deal, Collier replied: "I think we are. Our discussions are well advanced and we are enthused.

"I think people tend to forget it is only a week ago today we were in Bangalore for the opening of the IPL and things have happened remarkably quickly during that period."

Stanford has also proposed a 10m winner-takes-all series between an England side and his own West Indies All-Stars XI.

"The discussions we've had regarding one-off internationals are particularly important," said Collier.

"They are hugely beneficial to the game because they don't add an awful lot to workload and yet they do give the players opportunities to earn large sums of money.

"They also bring large sums of money into county cricket and certainly into grassroots cricket, which is also something dear to Sir Allen's heart.

"We're one of the fastest growing sports in the UK at the moment - there has been a 27% increase in participation - so certainly cricket is on an very upwardly mobile track at the moment."


However, Sean Morris, chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association, feels a competition involving 18 first-class counties would not attract the necessary TV and sponsorship interest, or fan base, to be a viable commercial option.

The Guardian reports that, as the EPL talks gather momentum, the counties will face growing pressure to merge into six regional sides.

"This is the biggest opportunity we will ever get to restructure," said Morris. "I am very open-minded about the future, but I don't automatically envisage the EPL being played by the 18 first-class counties.

"You can have all 18 counties, with a few overseas players involved, play-offs, all good stuff.

"But when you look at the broadcasting deal that will drive it and for sponsorship partners and for fans, does playing 18 teams really stack up?"

see also
Cumbes favours new Twenty20 plan
25 Apr 08 |  Lancashire
English game may follow IPL lead
23 Apr 08 |  England
Sidebottom backs big-money game
22 Apr 08 |  England
But is it really cricket?
22 Apr 08 |  South Asia
England bosses soften IPL stance
16 Apr 08 |  Cricket
England duo handed Wisden award
09 Apr 08 |  Cricket
England IPL ban 'will not work'
09 Apr 08 |  England
ECB chief rejects Pietersen plea
07 Apr 08 |  England

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