CPL’s CEO asks T20 leagues to collaborate

The Caribbean Premier League (CPL)’s chief executive has described overlaps between franchise leagues as “a nonsense”, and has called for regular meetings among their owners and administrators in an attempt to solve cricket’s global scheduling crisis. 

The CPL has overlapped with the Hundred in recent years but will avoid a clash this season after holding talks with the ECB earlier this year.

And Pete Russell, one of CPL’s co-founders and the league’s CEO since 2021, believes that such collaboration should be commonplace to minimise the frequent clashes between the T20 leagues.

“[The ECB] have a defined window that they have to play in, and it happened that we could move everything out to ensure that we didn’t clash [with the Hundred],” Russell told ESPNcricinfo. “It makes absolutely zero sense if you’ve got [Sunil] Narine and [Andre] Russell having to fly back the day before the final of the Hundred. That’s in no one’s interests, and certainly not the Hundred’s.

“I hope that [collaboration] continues. It’s not rocket science; it’s what should happen with all leagues. It’s just a nonsense that we’ve got all this overlap when it just needs to be worked through. Scheduling is a challenge, I know, but it can’t be that you have two leagues going at each other at the same time. To my mind, it doesn’t make any sense.”

There is a precedent for leagues negotiating to manage potential clashes as shown by the PSL and ILT20.

Several different leagues ran simultaneously at the start of 2024. Australia’s BBL and New Zealand’s Super Smash finished in mid-January; South Africa’s SA20 and the UAE’s ILT20 started in January and ran into February; the Bangladesh Premier League started in January and finished in March; and the Pakistan Super League ran from mid-February to mid-March.

The ICC Champions Trophy is expected to further complicate the picture when it returns in February 2025. The ILT20 is expected to confirm its dates for 2025 in the coming days following recent discussions with franchises, while the PCB has stated its intention to stage the PSL alongside the IPL in April-May 2025.

There is broad support among players worldwide for global scheduling windows for franchise leagues and international cricket, thus minimising overlap between the two. The Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA) player survey will be published soon, and as confirmed to ESPNcricinfo by Tom Moffat, FICA’s CEO, will show that 84 percent of the 330 respondents support introducing windows.

“Unless the game can come together to find a system in which the domestic leagues and international cricket can co-exist, we will end up with two separate calendars running in parallel,” Moffat told ESPNcricinfo.

“That will split the player employment-market, given most of the leagues rely on the inclusion of international players to be successful commercially. We currently don’t think that’s the right thing for the whole sport given it – and most professional players’ employment – is still largely funded by international cricket.” – ESPNCricinfo 

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