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Page last updated at 21:44 GMT, Monday, 10 May 2010 22:44 UK

Somerset chief executive attacks Twenty20 'plans'

The County Ground at Taunton, home of Somerset
Taunton is the regular home of England's women's internationals

Somerset chief executive Richard Gould has angrily criticised suggestions that his county should combine with others as part of a new Twenty20 league.

In March, three county chief executives met Lalit Modi, then chairman of the Indian Premier League (IPL), for talks.

Gould claims it has been suggested to him that Somerset should join up with Glamorgan and Gloucestershire to form a Twenty20 team based in Cardiff.

"We thought this was being wholly arrogant," he told the club website.

Gould stated that Yorkshire chief executive Stewart Regan - one of the three county representatives to meet Modi, who has since been suspended from his post amid allegations of corruption - had put to him a plan which would see the triumvirate of counties play all their games in Cardiff.

We are just getting fed up with the Test match grounds chasing cash to pay off their own debts

Somerset chief executive Richard Gould

However, the counties which stage Test cricket would retain their individual status in this proposed version of the IPL, which is competed for by city-based franchises.

"I put it to [Regan] that maybe Yorkshire should link up with Lancashire. His reaction was that there were far too many people to warrant anything less than two teams.

"I indicated to him that Somerset stretches from Bath down to Land's End, which is one of the biggest county catchments on the circuit.

"We are just getting fed up with the Test match grounds chasing cash to pay off their own debts.

"We feel the Test match-hosting grounds are trying to sell us down the Swanee."

There have been constant debates in recent years over whether county cricket should be restructured - while many first-class counties are heavily dependent on the money they receive each year from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and have been looking for additional revenue streams.

In 2008, a revolutionary plan - headed by Surrey chairman David Stewart and Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) secretary Keith Bradshaw - proposed a new franchise-based Twenty20 tournament, but this was rejected by the ECB.

Instead, that summer the ECB signed a deal with Texan businessman Allen Stanford which would see England play five annual Twenty20 matches against his "Superstars" team for a US$20m prize fund, as well as some quadrangular Twenty20 series in England. Each county received a guaranteed £50,000 from the prize fund.

The ECB also announced that an English Premier League (EPL), featuring all 18 counties plus two overseas teams (reported to be an Indian team and a Stanford team) - would start in 2010, alongside the existing domestic Twenty20 Cup which has run since 2003.

England visited Antigua in October 2008 for the first and only Stanford Super Series - and the ECB severed all ties with Stanford after he was accused of fraud and subsequently arrested in the United States, where he awaits trial.

However, the ECB pressed on with the EPL plans, announcing in April 2009 that it would instead be known as the P20 - but then abandoned those plans three months later.

A leaked email from Regan outlines the financial success of the IPL and suggests that Modi was keen for England to run a parallel competition based on the existing IPL franchises.

606: DEBATE
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ECB chairman Giles Clarke, who was Somerset chairman before he took up his ECB post in 2007, was alarmed, and sent an e-mail to to Indian cricket board (BCCI) secretary N Srinivasan, claiming that Modi had acted without authority and planned to "destroy world cricket's structure and especially in England and create a new rebel league".

But Regan insisted that the meeting with Modi was simply a fact-finding mission to enable counties to learn from the IPL's success.

"There were no deals, no secret meetings, no offers made," he said.

"It was a fact-finding mission and the elements of that that have been leaked to the press have been blown out of all proportion.

"We talked about a variety of scenarios that could occur in the future - there was never any firm discussion of any league or any proposals actually discussed."

Taunton, home to Somerset since 1879, staged a one-day international in 1983 and two in 1999 when England staged the World Cup.

However, it has been the permanent home of the England women's team since 2006 and has staged several Tests, ODIs and Twenty20 internationals, as well as the group stages of the ICC Women's World Twenty20 in 2009.



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see also
Counties play down Modi meeting
08 May 10 |  Cricket
IPL chief faces corruption probe
26 Apr 10 |  South Asia
Indian cricket suspends IPL chief
26 Apr 10 |  South Asia
Chennai Super Kings win IPL final
25 Apr 10 |  Cricket
Champions League switch riles ECB
10 Feb 10 |  Cricket
ECB ready to battle for Sky money
13 Nov 09 |  England
Clarke re-elected as ECB chairman
23 Feb 09 |  England
ECB unveils leaner county season
29 Jul 09 |  Counties
ECB reveals new Twenty20 leagues
29 Apr 09 |  Cricket
Record 4.4m profit for Somerset
26 Nov 08 |  Somerset
New-look English Twenty20 agreed
16 Jul 08 |  Counties
England bag 50m Twenty20 bonanza
11 Jun 08 |  Cricket
Counties split on Twenty20 idea
29 Apr 08 |  Cricket
England women unveil Taunton base
29 Aug 06 |  Women's cricket


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