ICL: Indian Cricket League

Stanford sets up multi-million dollar match


Allen Stanford and his 20/20 board of directors have invited the winners of the World Twenty20 in Johannesburg to play a one-off, $5million, match at Stanford’s ground in Antigua. The game is pencilled in for June 29 against a Super Star Team selected from the players taking part in the 2008 Stanford 20/20.

“Since this is the first World Twenty20 and that is the format of our tournament we felt it was fitting to have this team come and play our Super Star team next year,” said Stanford. “It will be the perfect culmination of our 2008 Stanford 20/20 programme [which takes place in January and February 2008].”

Because Stanford can’t invite a Full Member of ICC to play in the match, the official invite will come from the West Indies Board. “Mr Hunte [the President of WICB] will actually be making the invitation on behalf of Stanford 20/20,” Stanford told Cricinfo during an event in Johannesburg. “We are going to invite the winner to come to Antigua for one night and play one game for $5m, winner takes all.”

However, if India wins at the Wanderers it may not take up the offer as it has said it is unwilling to enter into a private event. Stanford has therefore made a contingency plan. “If the winner of this game chooses not come we are going to ask Australia as a back-up.”

But this match has only come about as a compromise after Stanford’s initial plan for a quadrangular event - involving Sri Lanka, India, Australia and South Africa - was scuppered by the TV deal between ICC and ESPN-Star.

“What we wanted to do was invite Sri Lanka, India, Australia and South Africa to come down and play on Friday, Saturday and Wednesday, and then you come out with a winner who then plays our Super Stars the following Saturday,” explained Stanford. “I called it 20/20 for 20 - $20million dollars for the winner. But because EPSN-Star are locked into this big contract with ICC it eliminated me getting four teams.

“We needed to get their permission and had a meeting scheduled here in Johannesburg with them, but they didn’t show up. Now I think it is going to be too big an issue to get ready for this year, because our tournament starts in January so we opted for this one-off game. We wanted the four-team play-off but there is a lot of bureaucracy.”

Stanford is in Johannesburg with nine of his board members including Joel Garner, Michael Holding, Viv Richards and Desmond Haynes. Although the meeting with ESPN-Star fell through, they met with Malcolm Speed and ICC members in what Stanford called “constructive meetings” although the feeling between the two is still strained.

Source:Cricket News

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