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19 Apr 2008 09:21
Texas billionaire Allen Stanford has offered to put up $100-million for England to play five Twenty20 games against his West Indies All-Star team.
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairperson Giles Clarke had said on Thursday the prospect of England taking part in a winner-takes-all $20-million match in the West Indies was “very likely”.
But after talks on Tuesday between Stanford and ECB chief executive David Collier, the American told the Times he believed the richest single game of cricket would be just the start of a series that will make millionaires of the England players.
The first $20-million game would be on Independence Day in Antigua on November 1 and Stanford then wants to alternate venues annually between his own purpose-built ground and Lord’s.
“I talked to David about the first game and then how we could collaborate in the future,” Stanford was quoted as saying in Saturday’s Times. “I said that it could be an annual event, maybe we could come to Lord’s in 2009 and then alternate.
“I would be happy to make a five-year commitment.
Asked if that meant $100-million, he said: “I’d be willing to do it.
The BBC reported on Thursday that the American is also keen to help create an English Twenty20 league and the ECB is eager to appease players keen to cash in on lucrative tournaments.
“We are spending a lot of time looking at creating a robust, sustainable and economically viable league that still protects our core revenues of Test cricket,” Clarke said.
Last year Stanford, who has already funded a full Twenty20 Caribbean regional tournament, gave West Indies cricket $100-million over three years in what he described as a bid to bring the game into the 21st century.—Reuters
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