Following talks between the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) and event promoter OPi, it has been mutually agreed that the planned UAE T20x franchise cricket league will not take place in the UAE this coming December / January.
The decision follows the conclusion of the Invitation to Tender (ITT) process for tournament franchises. Both the ECB and OPi had been hopeful of achieving the sale of five franchise teams for the first year of the tournament, and whilst negotiations had been completed on two franchise teams and a further three were well advanced, it was felt that there was no longer sufficient time to close the sales process and to successfully deliver and promote a December event.
OPi, a privately-owned sports promoter, and the ECB had been working together since 2017 to develop the new franchise league, and had attracted interest and support from many of the world’s leading players and coaches. The decision of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in July to explore potential limitations on T20 cricket leagues and player participation in them, meant that investment into UAE T20x had to be curtailed throughout the summer in anticipation of a decision. This in turn impacted timings around commercial conversations with potential franchise buyers.