Champions League Twenty20 could be in January

The speculation is as good as over. Instead, work is going on behind the scene at break-neck speed to ensure that the Twenty20 Champions League sees the light of the day.

Even as the world remains dazed over the terror attacks in Mumbai, the International Cricket Council (ICC) debates whether it’s time to bring changes in the Future Tours Program (FTP) and analysts try to figure out how badly cricket’s financial muscle has taken a hit, T20’s latest monster is still breathing.

TOI has learnt organizers of the tournament are hoping to stage the event in January, when most big players can be made available.

With the Indian tour to Pakistan scheduled for January as good as over, the Indian players’ participation is guaranteed. The only hitch is the South Africa tour to Australia, which concludes on January 30. The three-Test series begins in the second week of December followed by two T20 matches and five One-dayers.

Around the same time Sri Lanka are scheduled to play in Bangladesh and West Indies are to head for New Zealand.

The Lanka vs Bangladesh series doesn’t effect the Champions League prospects in any way because none of their players are directly involved.

If the two T20 matches between Australia and South Africa, scheduled for January 11 and 13 can be postponed and the ensuing One-day series tightened a little, the Champions League can fit in, says an official.

He added, “That’s the only series happening during that period which could directly affect the Champions League.” If that can be worked out, everything else will fall in place. For that, Cricket Australia (CA) has to be considerate.

But if their lament at the postponement of the event is any indication, they might give this plan a serious thought.

James Sutherland, the CA chief executive had said, “We’re all out of pocket. The CA is losing quite a lot. It’s millions of dollars. Private investors in India and outside, including broadcasters ESPN, team-owners and so on, also stand to lose a great deal.”

Sutherland’s concerns make a lot of financial sense considering the fact that the tournament’s telecast and production rights went for $975m. There’s a $6m prize pool and a participation fee of $250,000 for each team. Ticketing, inventory mechanism of the respective teams, in-stadia advertisements, collections all of it had already been put into place.

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