Spain’s La Manga Club has been selected as the official venue partner for a new European Cricket League (ECL), which will launch this summer.
The sports and leisure resort will host the event for the next three years, with the inaugural tournament taking place in Murcia, south-east Spain, from 29-31 July.
Played over 17 matches in a T10 format, ECL 19 will feature the domestic champions of Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Russia and Spain competing for the chance to be crowned champions of European club cricket.
The new tournament has been hailed as cricket’s equivalent of the Uefa Champions League having secured investment from former Team Marketing executives Thomas Klooz and Frank Leenders. Fifa’s former director of broadcasting Roger Feiner is the chief executive of the new competition having been persuaded, like Leenders and Klooz, there are untapped opportunities for cricket in continental Europe by tournament founder Australian Daniel Weston.
Nick Montgomery, general manager at La Manga Club, said: “The European Cricket League is a fantastic new initiative, and we’re thrilled to be playing such an important part in helping to launch such an exciting project.
“The facilities that we can offer cricket teams are on a par with some of the best in the world, and partnering with this new competition will give us the opportunity to showcase the resort to a truly global audience.”
La Manga Club is widely-known as the home of cricket in Spain and features a range of first-class cricket facilities ideal for hosting teams and staging tournaments – including the continent’s only European Cricket Performance Centre.
ECL 19 will feature sides from Dreux (France), Rotterdam (The Netherlands), Svanholm (Denmark), Bremen (Germany), St. Petersburg (Russia), Brescia (Italy) and Cluj (Romania). Teams will be split into two groups of four with matches being played on a round-robin basis, with the top two from each progressing to contest the semi-finals and final.
The first league will be limited to eight champion clubs from official ICC member federations, but event organisers plan to increase the number of qualified teams in the coming years.
Daniel Weston, founder of the European Cricket League, and who plays for the German national cricket team, said: “There has never been a European-wide league of this nature and it’s our desire to make the ECL the flagship competition in continental Europe. The team behind the league has vast experience of organising and promoting events of this nature to a global broadcast audience, and we can’t wait to get started.”