The Pepsi ICC European Development Programme has announced its most extensive tournament schedule to date which will see at least 28 European nations compete in 11 tournaments throughout July, August and September next year.
In line with the expansion of the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League, the Europe region has added a fifth division to its senior tournament programme so that all 30 of its member countries will now have the chance to progress into the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League and qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup.
Divisions 3, 4 and 5 will be hosted by Spain , Cyprus and Greece respectively and it will be the first time that Cyprus and Greece will host a regional ICC event. Their inclusion as hosts has led to the extension of the European cricket season into September thanks to their milder Mediterranean climates.
The three senior tournaments will be played in round robin format and the end result will be automatic promotion and relegation for the first and last place teams respectively. The only exception to this rule is for the winner of Division 3 who will face a play-off against Croatia for promotion into Division 2 in 2010.
The women's tournament programme has been expanded to include an U/17 championship to give the junior national sides from Ireland , the Netherlands and Scotland their first experience of international competition. This event will take place in the Netherlands at the end of July and a week later the senior women's sides from the same countries will travel to Dublin , Ireland for the senior championship. For the first time a Twenty20 round robin with follow the longer format of the game in both of the women's championships.
There is also a busy junior programme made up of U/15 Divisions 1 and 2, U/17 Division 1 and U/19 Divisions 1 and 2. The season gets underway on the 14th July with the U/19 World Cup Qualifier in Jersey . The top two countries from this tournament will progress to the Global U/19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier in late 2009, and ultimately to the U/19 CWC in Kenya in February 2010.
2009 ICC European Championship Schedule: