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Stanford plans global expansion

Sir Allen Stamford at Lord's
Texan Stanford has lived in Antigua for 26 years

Sir Allen Stanford believes Twenty20 cricket can become the most popular team sport in the world.

The Texan billionaire will bankroll a 50m, winner-takes-all annual series between England and Stanford's Super Stars at his cricket ground in Antigua.

He said: "With the right financial support, the right vision, it can be the dominant team sport in the world.

"Twenty20 is what is going to grab the TV revenue, it's the future of the sport, make no mistake about that."

The England and Wales Cricket Board is guaranteed to receive about 1.75m win or lose from each match.

The lucre for the winning side is unprecedented, 6.5m for the starting XI, squad members and back-room staff, and is believed to be the richest team prize for a single sporting match.

We have had advanced talks that will come to fruition in the next few months, including a quadrangular series

Sir Allen Stanford

Sir Allen - who has previously described Test cricket as "boring" - believed the five-year series will revolutionise the game with the potential to break the American market.

"This [series] will expose the sport to a whole different market that has never seen cricket, nor would they be interested to see the game via the way of a Test match series," he told BBC's cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew.

"We will see cricket rise to a whole new level, including Test cricket.

"You have to remember Twenty20 was born right here in England, I didn't invent it, the English invented it.

"We are working with the ECB to take it to another level. They are, in my opinion, the best drivers going into the future for all of us to benefit from."

606: DEBATE

Stanford also revealed he is in advanced negotiations with the ECB about setting up a quadrangular series in 2010 featuring England, the West Indies and two other national sides, likely to be New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

"We have had advanced talks that will come to fruition in the next few months, including a quadrangular series," said Sir Allen.

"We have a lot of things going on with the ECB."

The new proposals have been backed by the players' union, the Professional Cricketers' Association.

In a statement, the PCA said: "We welcome Sir Allen Stanford's interest in English cricket and congratulate the ECB executives for the opportunities it presents for the England players and for the wider interests of cricket.

"We will continue to work with the ECB to ensure that any proposed investment best serves the England team, and importantly the health of the English game as a whole.

"We are confident that this agreement will reward the players appropriately, develop the English game and deliver benefits to a wide range of cricketers."




see also
England bag 50m Twenty20 bonanza
11 Jun 08 |  Cricket
Swann hails 'cricket revolution'
11 Jun 08 |  Cricket
Talks continue on England series
19 May 08 |  Cricket
England set for lucrative series
19 May 08 |  Cricket
England close to Twenty20 revamp
25 Apr 08 |  England


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