ICC Europe today announced the introduction of an ICC World Twenty20 qualifying structure for the ICC World Twenty20 2012 in Sri Lanka as a part of the European 2011 tournament schedule.

As a result of the ICC Executive Board's decision to expand the ICC World Twenty20 to 16 teams, all European member countries excluding the High Performance countries, will in 2011 participate in three divisions with promotion and relegation, for two places in the ICC World Twenty20 Global Qualifier in 2012.  The Qualifier will now consist of 16 teams of which six are ICC High Performance countries and six will be Associate and Affiliate nations.

The three divisions will be ICC European Division 1 Championship (T20) to be hosted by Jersey and Guernsey between 19-24 July, ICC European Division 2 Championship (T20) hosted by Belgium between 20-25 June and ICC European Division 3 Championship (T20) between 11-14 May hosted by Slovenia.

In addition to the three divisions, the ICC European Women's Championships will be held in Netherlands from 15-21 August; ICC European U19 Division 2 Championship and ICC European U15 Division 1 Championship will also be staged in 2011.

After the success of this year's Youth Challenge Series these will continue in 2011 with ICC European Under 19 Challenge Series and ICC European Under 17 Challenge Series.

ICC Regional Development Manager, Richard Holdsworth is delighted with the schedule for next year, “I am very happy with the schedule; the new structure gives more member countries a better opportunity to reach a Global qualifier and then potentially an ICC Global Tournament.

“All host venues have been carefully selected and we are very happy with them.  Jersey and Guernsey did an excellent job hosting the ICC European WCL Divisions 1 and 2 this year and will no doubt again as co-hosts for the inaugural ICC European Division 1 Championship (T20).”

ICC European Championship Schedule 2011:

ICC European Division 3 Championship (T20) 11-14 May, Slovenia
Participating Countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey

ICC European Division 2 Championship (T20) 20-25 June, Belgium
Participating Countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Hellas, Isle of Man, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, & winner of Div 3

ICC European Division 1 Championship (T20) 19-24 July, Jersey & Guernsey
Participating Countries: Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Israel, Italy, Jersey, Norway, & winner and runner up of Div 2

ICC European U15 Division 1 Championship   31 July - 5 August, Scotland
Participating Countries: Guernsey, Ireland, Jersey, Scotland, The Netherlands

ICC European U19 Division 2 Championship   7-13 August, Venue TBC
Participating Countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Israel, Italy, and 3 Affiliates to be confirmed

ICC European Women's Championship   15-21 August , Netherlands
Participating Countries: Ireland, Scotland, The Netherlands, one team to be confirmed

ICC European U19 Challenge Series (2 series per country) Various venues, Various dates
Guernsey, Ireland, Jersey, Scotland, The Netherlands

ICC European U17 Challenge Series (2 series per country) Various venues, various dates
Guernsey, Ireland, Jersey, Scotland, The Netherlands