The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), on Tuesday (February 9), announced the launch of a six-team T20 league on the lines of the Indian Premier League, which will be held in December-January, 2021-22.
ECB also claimed that the league has the backing of Sheikh Nahayan Mubarak Al Nahayan, a powerful minister in the UAE Government, and also the chairman of the ECB.
The ECB has also revealed that it has received expressions of interest from many a party across the cricketing nations, particularly from India. Among the interested parties are a few IPL teams, businessmen from India, and Bollywood stars, the ECB official confirmed.
“Many have shown interests," Mubashir Usmani, the general secretary of the ECB, told Cricbuzz.
ECB plans to finalize things within a month with stakeholders and have six franchises initially.
"That is our plan. We will complete the whole process of ownership in a month and then sit with them and decide the modalities of the tournament. It will be done in consultation with the owners but the plan is to match it with the best of the leagues in the world, if not the IPL standards,” Usmani said stating that the salary cap for the players will be high.
A couple of years ago, the Emirates board had come close to starting the tournament involving four IPL franchises - Kolkata Knight Riders, Delhi Capitals, Chennai Super Kings, and another franchise, and officials had even flown to Mumbai to discuss the details.
Announcing the project, the ECB said in a statement, "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."
Dr. Tayeb Kamali, ECB board member and selection committee chairman of the ECB, commented, "We are delighted with the launch of our own T20 League, one we believe will enhance the growth and popularity of cricket being played in the UAE. We also envisage that UAE-based players will continue to flourish through such opportunities as they continue to make their mark on the international stage.”
"We see this League as another premier addition to our growing tournament calendar. Emirates Cricket, and the UAE, has a proven history of identifying and embracing initiatives that underpin the success of the game, as well as encourage and develop home-grown talent," said Khalid Al Zarooni, ECB vice-chairman and board member Asian Cricket Council.