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Stanford $20m cricket match in doubt

The $20 million cricket match between England and Sir Allen Stanford’s Caribbean team is in doubt after the WICB lost its case in the High Court against team sponsor Digicel.

The ruling means that the West Indies Cricket Board cannot sanction the match, set for November 1, in Antigua and added that that no West Indians on central contracts could play.

The BBC reports that Digicel, overlooked as a sponsor, took action as it felt it had full branding rights on the match, claiming it was effectively a West Indies match. Digicel had been unhappy that Texan billionaire Stanford was only prepared to grant them minimal branding on the bowlers’ run-ups and boundary boards. It felt it had a right to a larger slice of the publicity and marketing surrounding the match.

According to the broadcaster, Stanford and Digicel will now be locked in furious negotiations over the next few days in a bid to save the match which is due to feature a whole week of warm-up matches.
WICB chief executive Dr Donald Peters told the BBC: “We understand the arbitrator has ruled against us and at this point we are trying to evaluate what the terms of the ruling are before we make any statement.”

The England and Wales Cricket Board is keen that the match goes ahead as planned, as it feels it is the best way to lure the top players away from the temptations of the Indian Premier League. The news is also a blow Kevin Pietersen’s England squad, each of whom is set to become overnight dollar millionaires should the match go ahead – and they win it.