Champions League T20 to move out of India

MUMBAI: Here’s something Lalit Modi’s Twitter page is yet to reveal. The second edition of the Champions League Twenty20 tournament will be moving out of India for season 2010.

The possibility of this, along with fixing the dates and looking at the right venue was discussed in detail when the governing council of the Champions League met in Dubai on Wednesday.

The tournament is scheduled to be played from September 10-26. While the governing council found a solution to schedule the tournament in the middle of a packed ICC Future Tours Program (FTP), a final decision on the venue is yet to be taken. "It will be a toss up between South Africa and UK (England)," a highly placed source, in the know of things, told TOI on Thursday.

There are two reasons for the tournament to be moved out of India. A major reason is the rain factor, with the tournament beginning in the second week of September. The last thing a billion-dollar tournament would want is the fear of matches being washed away. And the dates cannot be tweaked because of the hectic FTP.

The second reason is the very idea of making the Champions League a global tournament, something that Modi had been emphasising since he initiated the concept.

"When the dates were first being juggled with, it was kept in mind that the tournament cannot be held in India," the official further added.

IPL CEO Sundar Raman told TOI, "Yes, there was a discussion on the venues but we have not come to a final decision in this regard."

Last year, when the IPL moved to South Africa, it was a huge success despite the whole exercise being accomplished at such short notice. South Africa, therefore, is a hot favourite once again. Given the current clash dates between Modi and ECB, the possibility of England hosting the tournament seems unlikely because England have been reluctant to make any changes to their county schedule. On the other hand, Pakistan is scheduled to visit England in the month of June to play four Tests and five ODIs (NatWest Series) which finishes on September 22.

"We would certainly want to host the Champions League but this year the dates are a problem. We cannot change anything because of our commitment to our broadcasters and sponsors," an ECB spokesperson told TOI.

However, Modi, who has never failed in springing surprises, is still working on the possibilities and on most occasions he has certainly managed to have things ruled in his favour. Perhaps, gifting the Champions League to UK might just do the trick this time.

Among other contenders, US remains out of bounds as of now because of several reasons pertaining to commercial and ground rights. In any case, TOI has learnt, it is the IPL (exhibition matches for starters) that will go to the US first just in case Modi eventually finalises his plans to stage matches there. Australia too doesn’t make the list too because of the time difference with India, which has the potential to affect prime time viewership here. (TOI)

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