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Saudi Arabia set to fund BCCI mega project: IPL 2.0

Saudi Arabia set to fund BCCI mega project: IPL 2.0

Earlier this year, reports from Australia suggested that PIF was contemplating its own standalone T20 league, akin to LIV Golf.

In a move that could reshape the landscape of international cricket, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) is currently in advanced discussions to finance a second Indian Premier League (IPL) set to take place every autumn. This development has sparked concerns about the potential repercussions for global cricket as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) explores new horizons.

Recent talks between BCCI officials and PIF representatives during the World Cup in India as have shed light on plans to launch a distinctive competition, potentially adopting the T10 format to set it apart from the IPL. Details of this ambitious project were brought to the forefront by Money Control, with subsequent confirmation of Saudi Arabia’s involvement by Mail Sport.

Earlier this year, reports from Australia suggested that PIF was contemplating its own standalone T20 league, akin to LIV Golf. However, collaborative discussions with the BCCI have steered both parties towards a joint venture, indicating a significant shift in the cricketing landscape.

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Motivated by the resounding success of the IPL, considered the world’s second most lucrative sports league after the NFL, the BCCI has been contemplating a second franchise competition for several years. The prospect of Saudi investment has now expedited these plans, with a report speculating that the inaugural competition could kick off as early as next September.

Insidesport

While initially billed as a developmental tournament, the allure of significant financial backing ensures that the proposed competition would attract renowned international players, adding strain to the global cricket schedule. This development has raised concerns at the International Cricket Council (ICC), given that their last three major events, including this year’s World Cup and the last two T20 World Cups, were scheduled in the autumn.

The final format is yet to be agreed upon, but report suggest that the BCCI is contemplating various innovations to distinguish the new competition from the IPL. Among the changes under consideration is the adoption of the T10 format, along with the potential introduction of quotas for under-23 players to nurture the next generation of Indian cricket stars.

The possibility of permitting overseas players and hosting matches outside India, appealing to the Saudi government, adds an international dimension to this ambitious project. According to the IPL constitution, the existing 10 franchises have the right to participate in any new competition launched, ensuring a dynamic response from other Indian cities if any franchise chooses not to partake.

The envisioned second short-form competition in India could have far-reaching consequences for bilateral international series, particularly in 50-over cricket, which was already facing uncertainties. The BCCI’s expansion plans also cast a shadow over the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), as hopes for IPL franchises to invest in The Hundred and attract the world’s best players may face challenges.

While both the BCCI and PIF have chosen not to comment on these ongoing developments, the cricketing world remains on edge, anticipating the potential transformation that a second IPL could bring to the sport.

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