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The England and Wales cricket board set in process a rule change that will pave the way for a new city based twenty-twenty competition.
It is expected that the ECB will be successful in securing the 31 votes it requires for the new regulation according to which, participation of all 18 first class counties would no longer be mandatory.
The decision is imminent as all the first class counties seem content with the ECB’s guarantee of 1.3 Million for the next five years if the tournament comes into being.
“This is about securing our future, and our growth as a cricket nation”, said ECB chief executive Tom Harrison on Monday. “As guardians of the game, the responsibility is on us to steer cricket to a secure future and pass it on in even better shape.
“A new T20 competition can invigorate a new lease of life into our cricket and if done properly, it has the potential to be the most globally fresh, relevant and dynamic tournament in world cricket.”
While Sky sports and BT sports are set to battle for the television rights, it is expected that eight fixtures of the tournament are going to be broadcast on free-to-air TV.
If it happens, this will be the first time since the ashes of 2005 that any English cricket would be broadcast for free.
This development comes after the ECB has received a lot of criticism for valuing television rights cash over the need to grow the game by denying the potential viewers who aren´t already cricket fans, or don´t have the means to pay to watch cricket on pay TV.
Responding to this, Harrison claimed, “In an ideal world, I´d like to maximise revenue and reach,(But) we´re a pay TV business. We´re underwritten by pay TV.”
The tournament is slated to comprise of 36 matches spread over a five week window, with the final stages being decided by play-offs and eliminators between the top 4 sides.
The competition is also going to mark English cricket’s first instance of the draft system being employed for the allocation of players between teams.
Although the board has not revealed the identities of the eight teams for the new event, it is very likely that their would be two in the Midlands, two in the north of England, two in London, and one each in the west, including Wales, and the south.