The UAE T20x cricket league scheduled for later this year has been cancelled after three of the five franchises failed to be sold.
The inaugural Twenty20 tournament was set to overlap with the start of BBL|08 and run between December 19 and January 11 and had already attracted a host of international players to take part.
AB de Villiers was named as the ambassador for the tournament, suspended Australian duo Steve Smith and David Warner had been contacted about participating, while international stars David Miller, Eoin Morgan, Andre Russell, Shahid Afridi and Kumar Sangakkara were also set to feature.
But only two of the five franchises attracted bids in time and tournament organisers have decided to pull the pin on this year’s event.
“Following talks between the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) and event promoter OPi, it has been mutually agreed that the planned UAE T20x franchise cricket league will not take place in the UAE this coming December / January,” a statement from the Emirates Cricket Board read.
OPi, a privately-owned sports promoter, and the ECB had been working together since 2017 to develop the new franchise league and had attracted interest and support from many of the world’s leading players and coaches. The decision of the ICC in July to explore potential limitations on T20 cricket leagues and player participation in them meant that investment into UAE T20x had to be curtailed throughout the summer in anticipation of a decision. According to the reports, this, in turn, impacted timings around commercial conversations with potential franchise buyers.