Is the CLT20 Really an International Championship? Cricblogger takes a look at how fair and how international this championship really is. The first criteria of being fair and unbiased for any international championship is to have a clearly defined qualification procedure that gives a fair chance to everyone. We take the UEFA Champions League as an example of fair and unbiased qualification process and try to analyze how the Champions League T20 differs from that.
UEFA Champions League is an annual international club football competition among the top football teams in Europe. Originally known as the European Champion Clubs’ Cup or European Cup, the tournament was started in 1955 as a straight knockout competition among the champion club of each country. Something that makes sense even today that a Championship has a certain criteria for qualification and participation. Later in the 1990s, the championship was expanded and the number of teams was increased with the addition of a qualification round, again something that sounds fair and sportsmanlike. No country enjoys a VIP position irrespective of its financial strength and political power. Teams have to meat certain criteria and have to compete to qualify. No country or team feels victimized or deprived of its rights, its a sports championship and is played with the highest of sportsman spirit.
Below is a table of comparison between CLT20 and UEFA Champions League reproduced from the sports section of the MSN.com.
|CL T20||UEFA Camps league|
|Year of inception||2009||1955|
|No. Of teams||10||32|
|Location Format||Undecided||Home and away plus neutral for final|
|Prize money||$ 6 million||$ 960 million|
|Winner’s purse||$ 2.5 million||$ 63 million|
|Television audience worldwide||Not officially known||100 million +|
As for the Champions League T20, no formula or logic can define the selection/qualification criteria (financial excluded). Who plays and who doesn’t is known best to the Indian side of the management committee. Atleast two or three Indian teams always play and that is for sure. One other thing that is also for sure is that a Pakistani team cannot participate unless the political ties between India and Pakistan are at an all time high. Why is a Pakistani team not welcome? This is just a game and not a platform to get even with your political rivals.
Is this the Gentleman’s game we have always been proud of? Do we still claim that its more gentlemanly and more fair than the football leagues. Well the game is still fair if you leave out the odd names like Darrel Hair and may be a few cricketers who would remain nameless for now but who have been guilty of picking the odd catch off the ground and claiming a catch. Or those batsmen who having nicked the ball, have chosen not to walk. But on the whole, the game is still a gentleman’s game. Unfortunately the same can not be said for the boards governing the game of cricket and its leagues. Ever since the BCCI became the superpower of cricket, things have not been the same. At least not for countries like Bangladesh, Srilanka and Pakistan. The Champions League T20, even though it is proclaimed to be an international event, is more of a BCCI event. The BCCI dictates who plays and who doesn’t based on their likes and dislikes and based on political ties between the boards and the governments. And since Pakistan is not an ally, no Pakistani team is welcome.
Can a country like Bangladesh or Ireland ban Indian teams from the Champions league. I wonder if England or South Africa can. But surely India can and has. India has also refused to allow its players in the Srilankan Cricket League thus giving SLCL major financial setback interms of viewership and broadcasting revenues. I am sure, if Pakistan launches its version of the IPL, the BCCI would definately be the major obstacle to cross. Furthermore, Pakistan is the only major test playing nation not to have a team in the Champions League. Its players are not welcome at the IPL. And most interestingly, the next ICC president for 2014 is supposed to be nominated by Pakistan and Bangladesh and we hear talks that powerhouse India is spearheading a move to end the rotational presidency system. Thus countries like Pakistan, Srilanka, Bangladesh, West Indies and Zimbabwe can forget about having the ICC presidency.
Pakistan is a victim of unsupportive attitude of its neighbour countries and fellow boards. It was stripped off its right to host the 2011 Cricket World Cup with the major share of the matches planned in to be played in Pakistan going to India. What one fails to understand is that, if there were security threats, Pakistan could have hosted her matches in the UAE as has been the case in other home series. But no, there was a lot of money involved and the more powerful wanted to take a chunk out of it.
I am priety sure that once the security situation in Pakistan improves, Pakistan would not get to host a world cup on its own as a compensation for the 2011 Worldcup. If Pakistan shows her desire to do so, India would have to be included as a natural partner thus giving further advantage to India.
As a cricket fan, I do not care about the monetary benefits of hosting matches. All I care about is neat and clean cricket. Unfortunately, cricket is getting plagued with power politics. I am not sure if we can call it a gentleman’s game anymore.
Let us leave politics out of cricket. If the political ties between India and Pakistan deteriorate, we see the that the test series gets cancelled. This should not be the case. Cricket should not be effected by it. Infact, cricket should work to bring the counties back together.
(Some parts of this article are excerpts from one of my previous articles on the Politics in Cricket.)
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