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Page last updated at 09:10 GMT, Thursday, 17 April 2008 10:10 UK

ECB set to accept big-money match

Giles Clarke gives a speech
ECB chairman Giles Clarke met Stanford on Tuesday

ECB chairman Giles Clarke says the prospect of England taking part in a winner-takes-all $20m Twenty20 match in the West Indies is "very likely".

Texan billionaire Sir Allen Stanford, the bankroller of the proposed match in 2009, was at Lord's on Tuesday.

And Clarke told BBC Radio 4: "I think the match is very likely to take place.

"We are keen to give our players the chance to make a significant amount of money. Sir Allen is doing a huge amount for cricket in the West Indies."

The lucrative single match - which would be against a West Indies All-Stars XI - was just one issue discussed by Clarke and Stanford.

The American is also keen to help create an English version of the Indian Premier League, which starts on Friday with the biggest names in cricket playing, minus any England stars.

With no window in the current international schedule to allow England's contracted players to compete in the IPL until 2010, the ECB is eager to appease players who are keen to cash in on lucrative Twenty20 tournaments.

What the Indians say has to happen. It's dangerous, because in business or anywhere else, you need to have checks and balances

Sir Allen Stanford

Clarke said: "I think what the IPL will achieve is remarkable given the time and speed with which it has been put together.

"We are spending a lot of time looking at creating a robust, sustainable and economically viable league that still protects our core revenues of Test cricket."

His talks with Stanford took place with the "full knowledge of the West Indies Cricket Board" (WICB), the ECB claimed in an earlier statement.

The WICB has not always seen eye-to-eye with the big-spending tycoon, though he has already bankrolled a full Twenty20 tournament in the West Indies.

IPL commissioner Lalit Modi said he would welcome the creation of an English Premier League (EPL).

"I see no problem with partnership," said the Indian Cricket Board vice-president. "I think it's a good idea."

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The ECB would most likely host the tournament in either June or July.

Clarke will lead an ECB delegation to India this week to observe how the IPL is run and forge potential future links with the IPL organisers.

Stanford, whose ultimate ambition is to get Americans "hooked on" Twenty20 cricket, gave an interview to the Daily Telgraph outlining his aims.

In it, he said India's cricket bosses had become so powerful that they are like "a 900lb gorilla".

He added: "What the Indians say has to happen. It's dangerous, because in business or anywhere else, you need to have checks and balances.

"Naturally you're never going to have a totally level playing field - that's not the way the world works - but there shouldn't be such an imbalance that everybody is riding on one party's coat-tails."


see also
England bosses soften IPL stance
16 Apr 08 |  Cricket
Bransgrove backs Clarke over IPL
15 Apr 08 |  Hampshire
England IPL ban 'will not work'
09 Apr 08 |  England
ECB chief rejects Pietersen plea
07 Apr 08 |  England


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