Cricket's Champions League to become annual event

Lalit Modi, chairman of the IPL, says that cricket's Champions League has been sanctioned as a annual event by the International Cricket Council.

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NEW DELHI // A Champions League Twenty20 tournament featuring the top domestic teams from seven nations will become a sanctioned annual event on the ICC international schedule, organiser Lalit Modi said. The Champions League Twenty20, which will be held for the first time from Oct 8-23 in India, is jointly owned by the national cricket boards of Australia, India and South Africa. "I think Champions League has already been slotted in as part of the FTP (Future Tours Program)," Modi, an Indian cricket board vice president who is also chairman of the Indian Premier League (IPL) said.

"We're working with all the member countries and the ICC, and we have together come out with the dates of the Champions League to benefit everybody," The first edition of the Champions League was postponed last year in the wake of militant attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai. It had been scheduled to feature eight teams - two each from India, Australia and South Africa, and one each from England and Pakistan.

The tournament has now been expanded to 12 teams and includes the domestic champions from the West Indies, New Zealand and Sri Lanka as well as one more from England. India will now have three teams in the competition, while Pakistan do not have a team included. Representing India in the Champions League will be the IPL finalists Deccan Chargers and Bangalore Royal Challengers, and the Delhi Daredevils - who finished at the top the IPL standings at the end of the league stage. Victoria and New South Wales states qualified from Australia, with the Cape Cobras and Eagles from South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago from the West Indies, Otago from New Zealand and the Sri Lankan team Wayamba.

The two English representatives will be decided after the domestic Twenty20 championship, which ends in August. The tournament will offer $6 million (Dh22m) in prize money with the draw to be held on June 23 in London. Modi said the Champions League Twenty20 was expected to be staged in a different country every year. "We've always envisaged the movement of the Champions League from country to country, and to showcase the best of the best playing in different parts of the world," he added.