Cricket’s eagerly-awaited Euro T20 Slam, which was to involve franchise teams in Belfast and Dublin, has been dramatically called off.
The organisers issued a press release just after 9pm on Wednesday night, saying the tournament had been postponed until 2020.
Prashant Mishra, speaking on behalf of the Board of the Euro T20 Slam, said the board, funding partners and franchise owners “have reluctantly come to the decision that staging of the event will not be possible in 2019”.
However, despite the press release including comments from Cricket Ireland, Cricket Scotland and the Dutch cricket authorities, there was no concrete explanation about why the tournament had been postponed.
It was set to draw a mix of world class international players including England captain Eoin Morgan and domestic players from Ireland, Scotland and Holland.
Mr Mishra said: “We want to ensure that the inaugural staging of the Euro T20 Slam provides the best springboard to making this a truly flagship event on the global cricket calendar. As such, we believe the right course of action is to postpone the Slam to a further date. This will give us the necessary breathing space to ensure we are ready to go.”
“We will work with the three cricket boards, our principal investors, the franchise owners, players and other stakeholders within the game to ensure we fulfil any commitments we have made to the extent possible. We want to ensure the goodwill and integrity that we have built up rolls on into 2020.”
Warren Deutrom, Chief Executive of Cricket Ireland, said: “We are deeply disappointed with the decision, however, fully empathise with the rationale that has led to the tournament’s postponement. The excitement and energy that the Euro T20 Slam had generated since it was announced has demonstrated a high level of interest amongst the Irish public in seeing world-class cricket hosted here in Ireland. We hope that the interest will carry on until 2020 when the Slam will finally get underway.”
“We would like to acknowledge the enormous work that has gone into planning for the Slam behind the scenes – the clubs, the local councils, business partners and sponsors, and the many, many hours put in by staff in Cricket Ireland, Cricket Scotland and KNCB to support this undertaking. All of this groundwork is not in vain, as it will be the bedrock on which we support the event next year.”
The tournament was causing upheaval in the domestic game with the decision only taken to move the Irish Cup final between Pembroke and Waringstown because of a fixture clash on August 31.
However, that move has all been for nothing.