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Page last updated at 14:53 GMT, Wednesday, 30 July 2008 15:53 UK

Champions League format announced

Kent winning the 2007 Twenty20 Cup
Kent were Twenty20 finalists in 2008 but have two ICL players

The format has been announced for the eight-team Twenty20 Champions League, which will take place in India between 29 September and 8 October.

The event will follow the ICC Champions Trophy, which finishes on 28 September.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said the teams, including two each from India, South Africa and Australia, will battle for $6m (3m).

The other two teams will be from either England - if their row with India can be resolved - Pakistan or New Zealand.

The inaugural tournament will feature eight teams who will play 15 matches at three venues - Jaipur, New Delhi and Mohali - but that number will increase to 12 teams playing 23 matches in 2009.

606: DEBATE
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The teams will be divided into two groups of four teams each, with the top two teams from each group qualifying for the semi-finals.

English teams might not be allowed to play because the BCCI is refusing to back down on its ruling that no counties who have fielded players who played in the unsanctioned Indian Cricket League (ICL) - a rival to the International Cricket Council (ICC)-sanctioned Indian Premier League (IPL) - will be allowed to compete in the Champions League.

Under that ruling, Twenty20 Cup winners Middlesex, who have no ICL players, are eligible for the Champions League - but the BCCI objects to beaten finalists Kent taking part because they have two players who turned out in the ICL - Pakistan's Azhar Mahmood and South Africa's Justin Kemp.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has been attempting reach a compromise on this matter and the announcement means the ECB will have to reach an agreement with the BCCI or lose out on the riches on offer.

A spokesman for the Champions League told BBC Sport: "It has not been confirmed which are the final two teams. They could come from England, Pakistan or New Zealand."

CONFIRMED TEAMS TO ENTER CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Rajasthan Royals (IPL)
Chennai Super Kings (IPL)
Victoria Bushrangers (Aus)
Western Warriors (Aus)
Titans (SA)
Dolphins (SA)
The announcement also suggests that talks of England organising a rival Champions League in Abu Dhabi look over, as South Africa and Australia have sided with India.

The ICC has not commented on the latest developments.

Lalit Modi, chairman and commissioner of the IPL and vice-president of the BCCI, said: "The success of the IPL 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."

James Sutherland, Cricket Australia's chief executive, said: "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.

"I'm also delighted that the benefits of this global event will flow down to state level and enhance cricket at grass-roots level."

Gerald Majola, Cricket South Africa's chief executive, also welcomed the agreement, saying he was "certain this competition will significantly enhance the international stature of domestic cricket".

He added it would "pave the way for greater involvement of cricketers, right from the club, province, state and county, through to the national and international arenas".


see also
Middlesex win thrilling Cup final
26 Jul 08 |  Counties
England bag 50m Twenty20 bonanza
11 Jun 08 |  Cricket
New-look English Twenty20 agreed
16 Jul 08 |  Counties


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