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Modi Planned Rebel T20 League In UK, Says ECB

Even as suspended Lalit Modi prepares to reply to a showcause notice slapped on him by the BCCI for a host of irregularities in the IPL, the cricket board on Thursday slapped a supplementary chargesheet
PTI May 07, 2010 9:27 IST
PTI
Even as suspended Lalit Modi prepares to reply to a showcause notice slapped on him by the BCCI for a host of irregularities in the IPL, the cricket board on Thursday slapped a supplementary chargesheet on him which asks him to explain his role in planning a rebel T20 league in the UK, reports Times of India.

According to an e-mail sent by ECB chief Giles Clarke to the BCCI, Modi was in talks with the IMG and three English Test grounds for setting up a mirror image of IPL in the UK, unknown to the two cricket boards.

The plan involved bypassing all cricket Boards and luring players in a manner that would have "destroyed the very ethos of international cricket".

Modi, claiming to represent the IPL and its governing council, allegedly also offered financial inducements to English counties to make it happen.

After a whistleblower spilled the beans, livid ECB officials responded by initiating legal action against the English officials and counties involved.

The ECB is also planning to take action against IMG for promoting this along with Modi and to seek their banning from world cricket.

When he was not signing murky IPL deals, Lalit Modi, it seems, was plotting to destroy the cricket establishment by setting up a parallel T20 league in the UK.

According to the minutes of a meeting held in London on March 31, which was attended by Modi, IMG officials and representatives of three English Test grounds, Modi wanted to leverage more value to the current IPL franchises by offering them a chance to buy a second franchise in England as the market there has the potential to support a mirror image of the IPL in the UK.

As per the minutes of the meeting, a copy of which is in possession of TOI, "Under the proposed scheme the 10 Indian franchises would be offered the first option to bid on 10 new English (and Welsh) franchises based around the Category A grounds in the main. If they did not bite, then they would be offered to the under-bidders from India and then to the open market."

"In order to get to this point, the ICC and member governing bodies must be convinced that they should allocate the two time-windows as a priority before any international fixtures are scheduled. Then everything else needs to be built around this."

According to the minutes, Modi predicted a revolution among players in case they are not allowed to get involved by their respective cricket boards. He also planned to introduce a new IPL rule which would require a player to guarantee his availability in order to be put on auction. "

Given the earning potential, he expects players to demand to be part of it, for example, "Dhoni's earnings last year were $25m (including IPL product endorsements) despite his $200k Indian central contract," the minutes stated.

"Ravi Bopara and Michael Lumb are expected to be offered $500k per annum in a 3-year contract as they have played so well this year. If governing bodies try to block the development of IPL, then the franchisees could, if they wished, simply buy out the players and create their own cricket structure.

"Modi believes that most star players would take the money rather than spend months playing county/state or indeed Test cricket. Indeed, if he wanted he could launch IPL Test matches & ODIs! This could dilute TV deals and ultimately send the governing bodies into a tailspin. The latter point was not a threat, rather it was evidence that the power has shifted to the franchisee and it is no longer the case that the ICC could stop this happening.

"If they try, it will happen anyway! Modi wants the balance between club and country to be negotiated sensibly rather than end up with everyone falling out! It may mean the payment of funds to smaller countries to underwrite their losses if the FTP reduces their games to allow T20 growth."