A new European T20 cricket league has been sanctioned by Cricket Scotland to be held from 30 August to 22 September 2019, following an agreement between the boards of Cricket Scotland, Cricket Netherlands and Cricket Ireland.
Similar in style to other well-known T20 leagues around the world, the new tournament will feature city-based franchise teams (six teams, two from each country).
The tournament will involve 33 matches across all three countries, featuring a Group Stage followed by semi-finals and a final. Tournament rules will ensure that each franchise must have a minimum of nine domestic players, and up to a maximum of seven overseas players within their squads.
Furthermore, the rules mandate that of the 11 players taking the field in each match, six players must be domestic players. The tournament, developed following consultation with ICC, will be delivered under an initial 10-year agreement with event and funding partners GS Holding Inc. and Woods Entertainment, and will be broadcast in cricket markets globally.
A Governing Committee comprising representatives from GS Holding Inc./Woods and the participating cricket boards will be established to oversee the tournament.
Malcolm Cannon, Chief Executive of Cricket Scotland, said: “Cricket Scotland is always looking for more fixtures against high-quality opposition to develop the talent in our national team. The proposal put forward by GS Holding Inc. and Woods Entertainment of a six-team European tournament featuring teams from Ireland and Netherlands, provides an excellent basis for Scottish cricket to prosper.
“Off the back of our highest ever global T20I ranking of 11th, the tournament comes at a fantastic time for Scottish cricket. The chance to play alongside some of the best in the business will provide a great opportunity for our players to learn and develop their own skillset as we strive to achieve Full Membership and climb the ICC team rankings.
“The league also comes at an important time of year for Scotland, with the proposed timeframe presenting an opportunity to play quality competitive cricket ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup Global Qualifier in UAE in October.
“We are excited to bring the global phenomenon of T20 franchise cricket to Scotland, with our vision to have two city-based teams in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Not only will the tournament help develop our players and coaches, we hope the tournament will increase public perceptions of the sport as well as engage communities around our franchise teams, with the opportunity to watch top cricketers from across the globe.
“We would like to thank GS Holding Inc. and Woods and of course the Boards of Cricket Ireland and the KNCB for working so hard to bring this exciting development to Europe. Cricket Scotland very much looks forward to watching Scottish cricket evolve over the next 10 years.”
Warren Deutrom, Chief Executive of Cricket Ireland, said: “We are very excited that what has essentially been an 18-month project in planning is across the line. The quality and competitive performances in white-ball cricket played by the three nations involved has been on full display over recent years, and we saw a joint competition as the best means of ensuring that there would be high quality cricket for the players and fans to enjoy.
“Finally, on behalf of Cricket Ireland I would like to thank the Board and Management teams from Cricket Scotland and Cricket Netherlands on their enthusiastic and collegiate approach to supporting the development of the tournament. We look forward to our inaugural decade of top-quality domestic T20 cricket that has the potential to raise the standards and performances of our respective national sides.”
Betty Timmer, Chair of KNCB, said: “We are very excited to participate in the new European T20 League which starts in August 2019. In recent months, the three cricket boards have shown that European cooperation is possible.
“For some time, Ireland and Scotland have been competitive opponents and we need each other to continue to perform at a high level.
“We look forward to beautiful summers with exciting T20 cricket across all three countries. Finally I want to thank Cricket Ireland and Cricket Scotland for mutual confidence and very pleasant cooperation.”
Mr. Prashant Ramesh Mishra, Managing Partner - Woods Entertainment, said: “Unlike the other T20 leagues, this has teams representing different nations of one continent and not just cities of one nation. This widens the reach of team loyalties and helps us look deeper into unexplored cricket markets. Cricket will surely be loved here and since the format is so fast paced and energetic, we can certainly expect a blockbuster tournament."
The benefits of the tournament go beyond the playing staff, with coaches and support staff of national sides being permitted to participate in the franchise teams as long as there is no conflicts with their national duties.
The competition will furthermore provide opportunities for local umpires and match officials to be involved in the operations of the tournament.
A formal launch of the competition is expected to be held in April 2019 at which the name of the tournament and confirmation of venues will be unveiled.