'England needs IPL version by 2010'
As per Texan billionaire Allen Stanford, England needs its version of the IPL in place within two years or risks missing the boat.Updated: May 02, 2008, 16:17 IST
England needs its version of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in place within two years or risks missing the boat, Texan billionaire Allen Stanford said on Thursday.
Stanford, who has offered a multi-million pounds investment proposal to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), said he envisaged international teams playing alongside counties in the new competition.
"If I was doing this (alone) I would bring it in next year," he told Reuters in an interview.
"If the ECB do not get this programme in place by 2010 they have missed the boat. That is the latest they can possibly be."
ECB officials have dismissed suggestions the new competition, a response to the lucrative IPL which has attracted players from across the globe, will operate with city franchises rather than the traditional county teams.
The board are expected to announce details of their plans by the end of the month.
Stanford, who owns several companies in the Caribbean and already finances a Twenty20 event on the islands, said the ECB model could combine franchises and county sides.
"I think the county format gives you the best structure," he said. "It has been there a long time. It works...it is the basis it (the new league) builds from.
"Now (it is a question) whether you build on that county structure and take that into a city structure which may be on some people's minds from a commercial aspect.
"You might have say Kent v Liverpool or something like that and maybe create more rivalry."
Stanford said international teams may also play a role.
"Absolutely. That brings the crowds in, that makes it international, brings television revenue in, I think that is a given," he said.
While urging the ECB to move fast over the new league, he said he was pleased the board had not rushed in too quickly.
"English cricket sometimes works slower than the rest of the modern sports world does but sometimes that is good, as long as you don't move too slow," he said.
Stanford said the IPL had been created too quick and was sure Twenty20 was ready to go global.
"With the right money, organisation and goals in place it can be an Olympic sport within a 10-year span," he said.
"We want to be the dominant team sport in the world, we want to bring it to the U.S., take it into markets where it hasn't been before and take it back into markets like the UK.
"It is now in the modern era."
As part of his proposals to the ECB, Stanford has suggested a game between England and an all-star West Indies team in Antigua on Nov. 1 with a $20 million, winner-takes-all purse, an unprecedented prize in cricket.