They lost out in the bidding process of securing a new IPL team from 2022 but Premier League giants Manchester United (Lancer Capital) and Ahmedabad-based micro finance company Capri Global are all set to join the UAE T20 League to be hosted by the Emirates Cricket Board, according to well-placed sources. (More Cricket News)
The UAE T20 League will have six teams and the tournament is being seen as a 'package' with the Indian Premier League hosted by the Indian cricket board (BCCI). The new league is likely to start middle of February 2022 and finish before IPL 2022.
It is also learnt that Zee will be the broadcast partner of the UAE T20 League. Former BCCI CEO Rahul Johri is now part of ZEE, once a major sports broadcaster in India. The Emirates Cricket Board has already announced Reliance Strategic Business Ventures Ltd as one of the team owners.
Reliance, owned by the Ambani family, runs the most successful IPL team, Mumbai Indians. This will be the first time, Reliance will participate in a T20 cricket league outside Indian shores. Top sources reveal that GMR, that partly owns Delhi Capitals, and Kolkata Knight Riders have signed up with the UAE T20 League.
Chennai Super Kings were also in discussion to own a franchise, but the IPL defending champions have developed cold feet. This has provided an opportunity for teams like Sydney Sixers, the famous Australian Big Bash outfit.
UAE T20 League will be held annually. For the initial few years, the League will feature six franchise teams competing in a 34-match event.
The League will involve some of the biggest names in world cricket and provide a platform and exposure to upcoming young cricketers, including those from the Emirates.
Sources say Indian players may get BCCI permission to play in the UAE T20 League. Given BCCI's good relations with ECB, which has helped host back-to-back IPLs in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID situation in India, uncapped/non-contracted Indian players may eventually play. But no formal announcement has been made.
Officially, the ECB has only named Reliance as a team owner. Sources reveal the 'big' announcement of the other five team owners "is expected any day," since an auction to sign up players is being planned in December.
Interestingly, a team will be able to field up to eight international players in a match. The total purse is expected to be around USD 2 million for a 25-member squad of which 18 will be cricketers.
Manchester United (Lancer Capital) and Capri Global had offered a 10-year license fee of INR 4128.86 Crores and 4204 Crores, respectively, for the two new IPL teams that BCCI sold in October. The RPSG Group won the Lucknow franchise but the ownership of CVC Capital as the owner of the Ahmedabad franchise is still not clear.
In the UAE T20 League, expenses per team will be significantly lower compared to the IPL. It is learnt that each team will have to pay a fixed fee of six million US Dollars per year for 10 years. Major profits are expected only after the 10th year.
"It will not be heavy on the pockets of team owners like the Glazer family, who are willing to spend big money on T20 cricket. Plus the long-term returns from UAE T20 League will be good and tax free. There are several advantages," said a source close to the ECB.
The chairman of Lancer Capital, Avie Glazer, is an owner of Super Bowl champion team Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Glazer has been co-chairman of Premier League biggie Manchester United since 2005.