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Thursday, October 16, 2008

ICC finalises dates for 2009 Champions Trophy

The ICC will hold the postponed Champions Trophy between September 24 and October 5, 2009, it was decided during the second day of its board meeting in Dubai. The announcement ends months of uncertainty about the event which was originally scheduled for September this year in Pakistan but was postponed after several participating countries refused to travel over security fears in the country.

The new dates were formalised after detailed discussions between Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, and officials of various national boards, many of whom will have now have to adjust their international programme to accommodate the event. The ICC, too, has had to make an adjustment of its own to accommodate the event, shortening its duration from the original 17 days to 12, including a reserve day for the final.

The ICC also said the event will be held in one city, possibly to ensure foolproof security arrangements, though Pakistan's fate as host will be decided only after a review following India's tour of the country in early 2009. Lahore and Karachi were the original venues. David Morgan, the ICC president, welcomed the decision to find a place for the tournament despite an increasingly packed Future Tours Program (FTP) and Lorgat thanked the participating countries for their cooperation. "I'm hugely encouraged by the spirit of togetherness and teamwork shown by our members in ensuring we have found a place for the Champions Trophy in next year's calendar," Lorgat said.

The ICC board's decision means the BCCI, which had originally refused to adjust its international programme to allow the postponed event, will have to reschedule the second edition of the Twenty20 Champions League, which had originally been slotted for September 25-October 10. India has also tentatively scheduled a seven-ODI home series against Australia to start from October 13 next year.

N Srinivasan, the BCCI secretary, said that "there will be no clash of dates". "The new programme takes into account a provision for the Champions League also," Srinivasan told Cricinfo.

According to Lorgat, for whom the result of today's decision is an achievement of sorts considering the initial opposition to the new window, the tournament needed to be held as it is "vitally important for the world game".

The Champions Trophy is expected to rake in around USD 40 million, most of which will be redeployed for the development of the game. "The tournament, with its new format of the top eight teams playing in a short, sharp event, is vitally important for the world game because it allows those members, as well as the developing cricket world, to grow the sport," Lorgat said.

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