Doubts over England's participation in IPL

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London, Oct 25 (UNI) The participation of leading England players in the cash rich Indian Premier League (IPL) is in doubt because of a contract row that also threatens the commercial success of the proposed English version of the Twenty20 competition.

The BCCI and the England and Wales Cricket Board are in dispute over a proposal from the latter that they will release centrally contracted players for the IPL only if the Indians undertake to make their players available for the English Premier League, due to start in 2010.

IPL commissioner Lalit Modi said yesterday unless a solution to the problem could be engineered, no English players would take part in the second season of the IPL, starting in April.

''We want English players to take part in the IPL but there is a big catch. That is the ECB have to launch the EPL and their quid pro quo is that if they release players the BCCI must release their best 20 players for the EPL,'' Mr Modi was quoted as saying by 'Daily Telegraph'.

''This is yet to be approved by the governance board of the BCCI and if it is not we will continue as we have done (without English players).'' Failure to reach a deal would come as a blow to leading players such as Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff, who are already in talks over IPL contracts. It would also undermine the ECB's hopes of setting up a premier league of their own.

UNI XC CS SP DS1412

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