This was done on Tuesday as ECB chairman HH Sheikh Nahyan Mubarak Al Nahayan’s office released a statement confirming the sanctioning of the proposed league and added that the December-January window, starting this year, would be kept aside to conduct the tournament.
The ECB had been working on the idea of a six-franchise league for a while now, while also looking to “invite” the Indian Premier League (IPL) team owners to be part of the venture. In an earlier development, leading IPL franchises like Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders had “reacted positively” to the proposal and were waiting to hear more from the Emirates Board.
BREAKING: ECB announces EXCLUSIVE T20 league.League sanctioned by ECB Chairman His Highness Sheikh Nahayan Mabara… https://t.co/f7N5LBi6Ke
— UAE Cricket Official (@EmiratesCricket) 1612872944000
However, with the onset of the pandemic that changed the course of cricket administration globally, like every other space, the said proposal was kept on hold.
The ECB is now “back in the game” and is looking for potential investors to show interest.
“Like all other successful global league models, the T20 league in the UAE will be franchise-based which will attract major international cricketers. Modalities of the League are being finalized,” the ECB statement added.
Khalid Al Zarooni, the ECB vice-president, sees the league as an addition to the UAE’s annual cricket calendar that “will encourage and develop home-grown talent”.
While the Emirates board goes about marketing this property as potentially the world’s most preferred one, simply because of its convenient time-zone, cricket industry executives say, “the challenge will be to find investors”.
“The ECB will be caught between the proverbial devil and the deep blue sea here because it can either lure Indian investors to the UAE or settle for any other global cricket investor, like for instance the PSL franchise owners. It’s a choice they have to make and from what we understand, they’re very keen on the Indian cricket industry taking interest,” say those tracking developments.
TOI understands that representatives of the Emirates Cricket Board are expected to fly down to India in the coming weeks to initiate talks with the IPL franchise owners and other potential investors. “Mumbai Indians, Knight Riders, Super Kings these will be on top of their minds, if they can convince these franchises to invest in their model. The model is a relatively unique one where franchise owners in the league will also be partners in the league,” sources add.