ICC Media Release
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been invited to host the ICC World Twenty20 2010 Qualifier later this year.
The event, which is currently scheduled to take place in late October, will also be expanded from its previous staging, in Ireland in 2008.
In addition to featuring the six Associate and Affiliate teams with ODI status – Ireland, Canada, Kenya, the Netherlands, Afghanistan and Scotland – it will also include the host team and the United States of America (USA).
The top two sides from the tournament will go forward to join the 10 ICC Full Members in next year's main event, set to take place in the West Indies in April and May at three locations – Barbados, Guyana and St Lucia.
These decisions were made by the ICC Development Committee, which has been meeting this week in Dubai.
ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said: 'I am thrilled that the ICC Development Committee has again taken an expansive and innovative approach to promoting our great sport by inviting the UAE and USA to join the top six Associate and Affiliate teams at the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier later this year.
'It follows on from its previous decision that the ICC Intercontinental Cup will expand to two divisions in 2009-10 with the addition of two more Associate teams and the possibility of including a team from Zimbabwe.
'The committee has given the chance for the top six Associate and Affiliate teams to qualify for the ICC World Twenty20, something they had the chance to do in the equivalent event in Ireland last year, while, at the same time, creating two additional invitational slots for this event.
'The concept of invitations is common in some other sports and, in this instance, it fits the bill perfectly.
'For the UAE, ranked seventh in the list of Associate and Affiliate one-day teams, hosting and taking part in the qualifier will be a great chance to showcase its excellent cricket facilities and to generate additional interest in the game within the country.
'And for the USA the tournament represents a wonderful opportunity to move towards a brighter future and exploit its potential after a period on the fringes following previous suspensions and demotions because of administrative issues.
'The ICC has strategic plans to target and strengthen the game in potential growth markets and the USA, with its player base, development potential and cricket broadcast interest, now backed with a new professional administration set-up, has obvious potential in all these areas.
'The team is currently in the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 5 but the players showed their abilities in winning last November's ICC Americas Championship, finishing ahead of Canada and Bermuda in the process.
'Twenty20 is the perfect vehicle for cricket to excite the USA and the carrot for its players and administrators is that a top-two finish will earn it a place in the main event which is to be held in its own region.
'We trust the Emirates Cricket Board and the United States of America Cricket Association will embrace this opportunity and will prepare squads of the highest standard.
'And we are sure Ireland, Canada, Kenya, the Netherlands, Afghanistan and Scotland will all be up for the challenge, in what we believe will be a great event.'
The ICC Development Committee also decided on the following locations for other upcoming events:
The binding decisions of the ICC Development Committee in relation to these events are all subject to the finalisation of logistical and budgetary arrangements with the prospective hosts.