x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

England turns to Sharjah

Sharjah could be the surprise venue to host England's version of the Champions League, after being contacted by organisers.

Sharjah could be the surprise venue to host England's version of the Champions League.
Sharjah could be the surprise venue to host England's version of the Champions League.

Sharjah could be the surprise venue to host England's version of the Champions League. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) initially hoped that the event would take place at the new Dubai Sports City ground, but the venue will not be built in time for the event in September.

The organisers have contacted Sharjah as a stand-by and a spokesman for Dubai Sports City said: "We are talking to a number of people and are happy to be involved in an event like this. "England is not the only board which is natural since many countries are involved here. "We have yet to agree to the finalisation of the terms and conditions but it is a long term proposal. "From time to time, we have been holding events with alternate arrangements."

A Sharjah Cricket Council official added: "We have been approached by many parties. There are so many Champions Leagues floating around. We are here for cricket and we will be happy to hold any event." The Sharjah Stadium still holds the record for holding a maximum number of 198 one-day internationals and four Tests since 1984. When the proposal was first mooted, the original plan was to have the event at a neutral venue and the Middle East, with its range of facilities, was the obvious choice.

It had been reported in the British media that the Abu Dhabi "royal family" was willing to fund the Champions League in the capital to the tune of £750million (Dh5.5bn) over 10 years. It is understood that private discussions have taken place between private entities in Abu Dhabi and the international sports agency IMG to hold the event again in Abu Dhabi after the ECB fell out of negotiations over the conduct of the tournament with India.

Sources close to the deal say that no agreement has been concluded and the specifics of recent press reports in terms of the detail of any future agreement and the party proposing the agreement are inaccurate in every respect. It is understood that the government of Abu Dhabi has played no part in any negotiations. The Indian board, on the other hand, has gone ahead to announce that it will have three venues - Jaipur, New Delhi and Mohali - for their Champions League. South Africa and Australia have confirmed they will take part.