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A nine-team English Twenty20 Premier League, starting in 2010 and worth up to 1.3 billion pounds, has been proposed by two members of the ECB management board, British media reported on Saturday.
A document drawn up by Surrey chairman David Stewart and MCC chief executive Keith Bradshaw, with assistance from the Hampshire and Lancashire clubs, was leaked to the press before play in England's [Images] test with South Africa at Lord's on Friday.
The plans are for an annual competition in June featuring leading overseas players staged by clubs at the nine test grounds. A player auction would be held to stock each team and there would be a salary cap of about 1.5 million pounds.
The proposals for a 25-day, 57-match EPL financed by private backers and owned by a company called New T20 Ltd could be on the agenda for consideration at a meeting of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) executive on Tuesday.
ECB chairman Giles Clarke told the BBC on Friday he had not been involved in the proposal.
"It's an idea between two individuals on the ECB board," he said. "We may discuss it."
"There has been a lot of debate and discussion over what is the most optimal format for the summer -- what will generate the most money, what spectators want to watch, how it will help the England cricket team," he added.
The Times reported the document, 'Consideration of an optimal Twenty20 tournament based in England', had calculated deals over 10 years would be worth about 85 million pounds annually in broadcasting, match-day and commercial revenues.
Rights to each team -- linked to a city, ground, region or county -- would be sold for an average near 50 million pounds.
The proposal has triggered concern among the smaller counties who are worried they could miss out on the financial rewards flowing from a lucrative new tournament.
"We would be completely against this," Derbyshire chief executive Tom Sears was quoted as saying in the Daily Mail.
"We have been told by the ECB that they are looking at an EPL with 18 first-class teams included.
"Then I hear that two of the ECB management board have signed this document, which is really worrying. It would completely change the landscape. We would see the rich getting richer and the have-nots falling further behind."
However, the ECB's Clarke said he was not interested in any reduction in the counties.
"I'm firmly in favour of 18 counties playing at their county grounds," he said.
"I'm not remotely interested in the reduction of counties".
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