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The SLPL will now be replaced by an inter-provincial Twenty20 tournament
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) have announced the cancellation of the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) after all eight franchises failed to pay the tournament fee and the bank guarantees, which ensures that players receive their payments.
The tournament was scheduled to take place between August 10 and September 7, but as a result of the cancellation, all player contracts will now be terminated.
“We want to maintain the integrity of the board and the integrity of the tournament, so we had to take a stand,” SLPL director Ajit Jayasekara said. “We can’t have a situation where the franchises say, ‘We will pay if the other franchises pay’.
“Player payments are a major factor in this. We are the only league in the world not to have defaulted on our player payments, and the franchises failed to provide those bank guarantees. We have given them enough chances and we can’t stand this nonsense.”
Jayasekara added that the franchises had not been clear on whether they wanted to be a part of the SLPL or not and instead continued promising to deliver the payments, but in the end, after numerous deadline postponements, Jayasekara and SLC had had enough.
According to reports, all eight franchises and the tournament’s marketing partner, Somerset Entertainment Ventures, were said to have suffered huge losses after the conclusion of the inaugural edition of the tournament, while SLC made a huge profit of 289 million rupees (approx. USD $2.3 million).
Jayasekara noted that SLC “haven’t invested a cent” in this year’s edition of the SLPL and they did not stand to lose much by cancelling the event either.
“SLPL is suspended for this year, so now we have to sit with our partners, Somerset, and decide on a new model,” Jayasekara said. “We have to decide on how and if and when we are going to call for bids for the franchises and get committed organisations.”
The inaugural edition of the tournament was initially scheduled to be held in 2011, but that failed to happen after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) refused to let any of their players participate in the Twenty20 competition.
When the tournament finally went ahead in 2012, it was a massive failure due to the poor attendance and lack of interest.
The tournament was also plagued by match-fixing allegations, but the tapes which were handed over as evidence were later found to be frauds, according to Jayasekara.
As if that weren’t enough, the winners of the inaugural edition of the SLPL, Uva Next, refused to pay several operational costs, including that of paying the bill to send the team to the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20).
As a result of the cancellation, SLC have announced that there will be an inter-provincial Twenty20 tournament held in place of the SLPL in August and the winner of that tournament will go on to represent Sri Lanka at the CLT20 in India in September.