CLT20 Wiki & Information

CLT20 Wiki & Information

The Champions League Twenty20, also referred to as the CLT20, is an annual international Twenty20 cricket competition played between the top domestic teams from major cricketing nations. The competition was launched in 2008 with the first edition held in October 2009. It is jointly owned by the BCCI, Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa, and is chaired by N. Srinivasan, who is also the president of the BCCI. Sundar Raman is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the CLT20 as well as the IPL.

The tournament is held between September and October for a period of two to three weeks in either India or South Africa. It has a total prize pool of US$6 million, with the winning team receiving $2.5 million, the highest for a club cricket tournament in history. The current format involves the best teams from the premier Twenty20 competitions of seven Test-playing nations, favouring the teams from India, Australia and South Africa.

CLT20 History & Background

Twenty20 cricket was launched by the England and Wales Cricket Board in 2003 with the Twenty20 Cup as a result of a long-term decline in the popularity of county championship and domestic limited-overs cricket. By shortening matches to around three hours, the format was designed to attract a younger crowd and boost attendances. Cricketing nations began adopting the format and creating domestic Twenty20 competitions.

This was followed by the creation of international Twenty20 tournaments. International 20:20 Club Championship was an early attempt at an international Twenty20 club tournament. It was held in 2005 and featured domestic Twenty20 teams from three countries. Twenty20 International, the form of Twenty20 played between national cricket teams, began in February 2005 and the ICC World Twenty20, the Twenty20 version of the Cricket World Cup, was first held in September 2007.

Domestic Twenty20 competitions began with England’s Twenty20 Cup in 2003. By 2006, most of the major cricketing nations had created their own domestic Twenty20 competitions. However, all these competitions had a style similar to their existing first-class and List A cricket counterparts, with most even using the same teams. In 2008, the Indian Premier League (IPL) was launched and achieved revolutionary success and popularity. The IPL has top cricketers and coaches from around the world; a franchise system where the eight teams auctioned for a combined $723 million, several of which are owned by Bollywood superstars; loyal team support from fans, and; large support from sponsorship.

Immediately after the end of the first IPL season, the cricket authorities in India, Australia and South Africa entered into discussions to create a new international club competition and capitalise on this success. The plans for the creation of the Champions League Twenty20 were first announced on 13 September 2007. The inaugural edition was to be held in October 2008, run by the cricket boards of India, England, Australia and South Africa, and featuring two teams from each country.

However, the tournament encountered problems when the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which owns 50% of the tournament, decided to bar players from the Indian Cricket League (ICL; a league unsanctioned by the BCCI and other cricket boards as a result) from participating. England featured ICL players in many of their teams, including their domestic tournament’s runners-up the Kent Spitfires. The BCCI decided to replace Kent’s slot with a team from Pakistan and was prepared to also replace the remaining England team. In response, ECB devised plans for their own Champions League. ECB eventually agreed to the terms from the BCCI. The CLT20 was founded by the BCCI, Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa with one team from England and $6 million in prize money.

Following this, another problem arose with the International Cricket Council over the tournament dates, which clashed with the ICC Champions Trophy, and the CLT20 was moved to December 2008. Plans were also made for the second edition to be held in late 2009 with 12 teams. In November 2008, the tournament was again put in jeopardy when Mumbai suffered terrorist attacks and the organisers attempted to reschedule again to early 2009. In December 2008, it was finally pushed to September 2009, when it was successfully held as per the plans for the 2009 edition.

CLT20 Format

Although each edition held had a different format and had a different number of participating teams, each had a group stage and a two-round knockout stage. A qualifying stage was introduced in 2011, reducing direct entrants to only teams from India, South Africa and Australia. Each team (including qualifying stage participants) receives a participation fee of $500,000. Every edition had a total prize money of $6 million. Since 2010, it had been distributed as follows:

  • $2.5 million – Winners
  • $1.3 million – Runners-up
  • $500,000 – Losers in semi-finals
  • $200,000 – Teams eliminated in the group stage

Before the commencement of the tournament, each team names a squad of 15 players. All players much have been contracted by the team for their domestic tournament. Mirroring the IPL rule, each team can field a maximum of four international players. Most of the other tournaments have a lower limit on both contracted international players and how many can play in their matches. In 2011, an exception to the rule was made for the Mumbai Indians who, due to players being unavailable, had a squad of seven Indian players and would have been unable to put together a playing team of eleven players should another be injured. They were allowed to field five international players. Mumbai won the CLT20 that year.

CLT20 Players & Participation

Should a player be a part of more than one qualified team, he can play for his “home” team (the team from the country he is eligible to represent in international cricket) without consequence. If he plays for any other team, that team must pay the home team a compensation fee ($150,000 from 2011). Indian Premier League teams have been the most popular choice for these players. In the 2010 edition, controversy arose when an IPL team contractually forced three players to play for them by utilising a clause in the rules of the IPL. The clause states that the IPL teams have first rights over their players should they qualify with another team.

The choice of the players and the nature of the rules are common subjects of debate with every edition. It continued to cause confusion until 2013 when it was clarified that the CLT20 rules state the players are free to choose their team. However, for a player named in an IPL team’s squad, he would have to forego 20% of his salary to choose another team. The IPL offers the most lucrative salaries and is the only tournament to have a clause relating to the CLT20 in its contracts. As a result, players are unlikely to choose against their IPL teams. For non-IPL teams wanting to keep their players, not only would they be forfeiting the compensation fee, some have felt the need to offer their players compensation in an attempt to sway their decision.

The only player to have chosen another team over his IPL team was Kumar Sangakkara in 2013. His team, the Kandurata Maroons, lost all their matches and did not advance beyond the qualifying stage. This incentive was lessened when IPL contracts were changed in 2014 to not have player salaries cover participation in the CLT20. A player will instead receive an additional 10% of his IPL salary for representing his IPL team in the CLT20.

The participating teams are from the top cricketing nations and determined by the premier Twenty20 tournaments of those nations. Each edition has featured teams from India, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, the West Indies and Sri Lanka. England have been in three editions but refused further participation after 2012 as their domestic season clashed with the tournament’s dates. Pakistan has not been invited to participate in the tournament until 2012 due to the hostility between India and Pakistan since the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

As the tournament is mainly targeted at the Indian audience, all editions have featured more teams from India than any other country. From 2011, four Indian teams competed while other countries had two teams at most. India is the first choice for hosting the tournament.

While the tournament format remained almost unchanged, the qualification tournaments have changed to include more overseas players and create stronger teams. The Caribbean Twenty20 was created in the West Indies after their representative finished runners-up in the 2009 edition. It was later expanded to become the Caribbean Premier League in 2013. Australia and Sri Lanka have expanded their tournaments to create the Big Bash League in 2011 and the Sri Lanka Premier League in 2012 respectively.

Participation in the tournament is highly desired. Since the Bangladesh Premier League was created in 2012, its organisers had hoped for their teams to be included in the tournament. A Bangladeshi team has yet to participate in the CLT20. The Dhaka Gladiators, winners of the 2013 BPL, expressed their disappointment after being excluded in 2013 despite the efforts made by their management.

CLT20 Venues

It was originally intended for the host of the tournament to be rotated between the countries of the three shareholders: India, South Africa and Australia. The broadcasting agreement also demands that at least five of the first ten editions are to be held in India. However, Australia has yet to be considered due to its unsuitable weather in September and due to its time zone being undesirable for the broadcaster. South Africa first hosted in 2010 but India has since been the first preference for hosting. South Africa was only chosen to host in 2012 when situations made it infeasible for India to host.