Two franchises in Ireland - one based in Belfast - will take part in a new European T20 League later this year.
Cricket Ireland revealed details of the franchises during an announcement that the proposed Euro league would involve clubs from Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands.
The new League has been sanctioned by Cricket Ireland to be held from August 30 to September 22, following an agreement between the boards of Cricket Ireland, Cricket Netherlands and Cricket Scotland.
Similar in style to other well-known T20 leagues around the world, the new tournament will feature city-based franchise teams (six teams, two from each country).
The tournament will involve 33 matches across all three countries, featuring a Group Stage followed by semi-finals and a final.
Tournament rules will ensure that each franchise must have a minimum of nine domestic players, and up to a maximum of seven overseas players within their squads. Furthermore, the rules mandate that of the 11 players taking the field in each match, six players must be domestic players.
The tournament, developed following consultation with ICC, will be delivered under an initial 10-year agreement.
Warren Deutrom, Chief Executive of Cricket Ireland, said: “We are very excited that what has essentially been an 18-month project in planning is across the line. The quality and competitive performances in white-ball cricket played by the three nations involved has been on full display over recent years, and we saw a joint competition as the best means of ensuring that there would be high quality cricket for the players and fans to enjoy.”
“The global rise of T20 franchise cricket is a phenomenon within our sport, and there is no secret that Ireland’s performances at this format of the game have not been where we have wanted over the last few years. That, for us, was one of the prime motivators for such a competition – to provide greater opportunities for Irish players to play top quality T20 cricket. The ability to play alongside a range of experienced international cricketers will only benefit both the established and emerging Irish talent that will be involved over the next decade.”
“It was also important for us, given our current work and investment into building the international and domestic structures required to compete successfully as a new Full Member of the ICC, that we found an event delivery and funding partner that would complement our strategic plans. In Woods and GS Holding Inc. we have some well-credentialled and experienced partners to provide this.”
“For Ireland, the current proposition is that one franchise team will be based in Dublin and another in Belfast. This promises to be an exciting venture for Irish cricket fans and we all look forward to seeing the tournament get underway in August.”