The Board of Control for Cricket in India, Cricket Australia, and Cricket South Africa on Thursday announced the rescheduling of the inaugural edition of the Twenty20 Champions League from September-October to early December.
The three founding member boards reiterated that this was a goodwill response the International Cricket Council's request to consider new playing dates for 2008.
The date change for the event was agreed to by the event's Governing Council following an ICC request to consider alternative dates in 2008 in order to offer a clearer window after the ICC Champions Trophy, which is scheduled for September 2008.
The first Champions League Twenty20 tournament will now be contested from December 3 to 10. The venues and commercial partnership details will be finalised in the coming weeks, the three cricket boards said in a joint statement.
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Interestingly, the tournament falls right in the middle of England's tour of India in November-December. India host England for seven one-dayers between November 14 to December 2, while the two Tests will be played between December 11-23.
"We are happy that we were able to find a window during the first week of December for the inaugural edition of the Champions League Twenty20. There was a gap in between the One-Day Internationals and Tests against the touring England squad and that will enable both the Rajasthan Royals and the Chennai Super Kings to regroup and focus on the inaugural edition of the Champions League Twenty20," said Lalit Modi, chairman and commissioner of the Indian Premier League and vice-president BCCI.
Australia and South Africa also agreed to make changes in their tour programme according to which the first Test in Perth has now been pushed back by five days and will now start on December 17.
CA Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland and CSA CEO Gerald Majola said they had consulted players and player associations, the WACA and other stakeholders to assess the feasibility and impact of making the Test match playing date changes.
Eight teams, comprising the reigning winners and runners-up from the domestic Twenty20 competitions in India, Australia and South Africa, plus the reigning Twenty20 champion Sialkot from Pakistan and the reigning Twenty20 Cup champion from England, Middlesex, have been invited to contest the tournament.
The inaugural contest was announced on July 30 this year, offering teams US $6 million of prize money, the biggest prize money in world cricket for cricket at a domestic competition level. The prize money, including US$3 million for the winning team, will be shared between the teams and their players.
"While the Champions League Twenty20 is a domestic tournament not affected by ICC Event rules, we have agreed to the ICC request as a gesture of goodwill," the joint Champions League Twenty20 statement said.