England's IPL answer to kick-off in 2010

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London, Apr 25 (UNI) The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is all set to rival the Indian Premier League (IPL) and will launch a Twenty20 tournament jointly with Texan billionaire Allen Stanford by 2010.

''We've had some very positive and constructive discussions with Sir Allen during the last week. I think Sir Allen has certainly mentioned 2010 and I think that's the more likely (date),'' ECB chief Collier said today.

Collier added that the discussions about such a league were well advanced and they have even thought of conducting a one-off 10 million pound winner-take-all tournament between England and the West Indies.

''The discussions we've had regarding one-off internationals are particularly important.

''They are hugely beneficial to the game because they don't add an awful lot to workload and yet they do give the players opportunities to earn large sums of money,'' Collier said.

However, the representative for England's cricketers - have welcomed the decision but suggested the board that an English Premier League would need the agreement of India, as ''that is where the money is''.

Professional Cricketers' Association chief executive Sean Morris was of the view that such a league in England would emerge as a bigger success than the IPL in India.

''We need to have a product that is exportable back to India, because that is where the money is. To do that, you need India's agreement. You are going to need some of their top players.

''There is no reason why their franchisees wouldn't mind playing a few more games in England. That seems an entirely plausible option,'' Morris said.

Yesterday, Stanford had indicated that with the growing success of Twenty20, cricket will soon replace football as the world's top sport.

''Twenty20 has the potential to be the most popular team sport in the world in maybe less than 10 years. But it's going to take a highly organised efficient management team to run it,'' he said.

UNI XC RAR AB PM1849

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