‘It’s not rocket science’- CPL’s CEO asks T20 leagues to collaborate on scheduling


The Caribbean Premier League (CPL)’s chief executive has described overlaps between franchise leagues as “a nonsense”, and has called for regular meetings among their owners and administrators in an attempt to solve cricket’s global scheduling crisis. The CPL has overlapped with the Hundred in recent years but will avoid a clash this season after holding talks with the ECB earlier this year.

And Pete Russell, one of CPL’s co-founders and the league’s CEO since 2021, believes that such collaboration should be commonplace to minimise the frequent clashes between the T20 leagues.

“[The ECB] have a defined window that they have to play in, and it happened that we could move everything out to ensure that we didn’t clash [with the Hundred],” Russell told ESPNcricinfo.

Chief Executive Officer of the CPL, Pete Russell

“It makes absolutely zero sense if you’ve got [Sunil] Narine and [Andre] Russell having to fly back the day before the final of the Hundred. That’s in no one’s interests, and certainly not the Hundred’s.

“I hope that [collaboration] continues. It’s not rocket science; it’s what should happen with all leagues. It’s just a nonsense that we’ve got all this overlap when it just needs to be worked through. Scheduling is a challenge, I know, but it can’t be that you have two leagues going at each other at the same time. To my mind, it doesn’t make any sense.”

There is a precedent for leagues negotiating to manage potential clashes as shown by the PSL and ILT20.

Several different leagues ran simultaneously at the start of 2024. Australia’s BBL and New Zealand’s Super Smash finished in mid-January; South Africa’s SA20 and the UAE’s ILT20 started in January and ran into February; the Bangladesh Premier League started in January and finished in March; and the Pakistan Super League ran from mid-February to mid-March.

The ICC Champions Trophy is expected to further complicate the picture when it returns in February 2025. The ILT20 is expected to confirm its dates for 2025 in the coming days following recent discussions with franchises, while the PCB has stated its intention to stage the PSL alongside the IPL in April-May 2025.

There is broad support among players worldwide for global scheduling windows for franchise leagues and international cricket, thus minimising overlap between the two. The Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA) player survey will be published soon, and as confirmed to ESPNcricinfo by Tom Moffat, FICA’s CEO, will show that 84% of the 330 respondents support introducing windows.

“Unless the game can come together to find a system in which the domestic leagues and international cricket can co-exist, we will end up with two separate calendars running in parallel,” Moffat told ESPNcricinfo.

“That will split the player employment-market, given most of the leagues rely on the inclusion of international players to be successful commercially. We currently don’t think that’s the right thing for the whole sport given it – and most professional players’ employment – is still largely funded by international cricket.”

While representatives of national governing bodies meet regularly at ICC level – most of whom control their own leagues – there is no specific forum for the owners and administrators of franchise leagues to discuss scheduling.

“It’s the logical way to go – because we’re all maturing, and we’re all getting to a point where we are sustainable,” Russell said. “They are generally regarded now as being part of the domestic calendar, wherever they are played. I think it is a case of, ‘OK, let’s have that group of people and say how do you figure out the schedule to the benefit of everyone?’

“I think it’s workable. Others might think it’s not, but I just think the conversations at least need to take place, just to make sure [there’s no clash].”

Moffat said: “With the exception of CPL and a couple of others, the controlling stake in most of the major leagues is generally owned by the same national governing bodies who schedule international cricket. That means co-ordinating scheduling between the leagues and international cricket to avoid scheduling overlap is possible – if there is a will to come together and do that.”

Russell used the recent release of Major League Cricket (MLC)’s 2024 fixture list – two months before the tournament starts – as evidence of a shortage of “joined-up thinking” among administrators. MLC begins on July 5, and is thus set for a six-day clash with the Hundred.

“They’ve only just come out with their schedule,” he said. “Why does it take leagues so long to put a schedule together? We have all year to figure it out.”

Russell also encouraged administrators to find a solution to the perverse incentives that emerged for players earlier this year.

“It can’t be right: I saw the other day that where leagues were overlapping, a player who got knocked out before the semi-finals or finals could actually make more money by going to another league. That shouldn’t be a thing.” (ESPNcricinfo)


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