Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Stanford confirms 20 million dollar match against England

England's cricketers will take part in some of the richest matches in sport after it was announced Wednesday they would be playing a series of 20 million dollar winner-takes all Twenty20 clashes in the Caribbean.

The matches are being bankrolled by Texan billionaire Allen Stanford, the man behind the domestic Twenty20 tournament in the West Indies.

Starting on November 1, England will play a series of one-off floodlit matches over a five-year period against the Stanford Super Stars, a Caribbean select side, at Stanford's own ground in Antigua.

"I see the Stanford Twenty20 as a fantastic opportunity for current players in the Stanford Twenty20 tournament to take a giant leap into the spotlight and gain exposure to top class opposition," Stanford said in a statement.

Stanford, who described the matches as offering the richest team prize for a single sporting match, added:
"The Stanford Twenty20 for 20 (million dollars) will be a highly anticipated event, not just because of the prize money, but because of the traditional friendly rivalrey that exists between England and the West Indies."

Twelve million dollars will go to the players in the winning squad with one million dollars to be split among the winning management team.

The remainder will be divided between the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).

Further details were expected to be announced at a news conference at Lord's here Wednesday.

Stanford arrived at Lord's in his own private helicopter which touched down on the Nursery Ground, where he was met by a delegation, including West Indies greats Sir Garfield Sobers and Vivian Richards.

Twenty20, which was pioneered as a professional sport in English county cricket and lasts just three hours, compared to a whole day for a 50-overs per side match or the five days of a Test match, has quickly become popular around the world.

It led to the creation of a World Twenty20 and a lucrative event in India.

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