The inaugural season of the Euro T20 Slam has been cancelled, just two weeks before the tournament had been scheduled to start.
The tournament’s organisers released a statement saying that “the board of the Euro T20 Slam, funding partners and franchise owners of this exciting new T20 tournament have reluctantly come to the decision that staging of the event will not be possible in 2019,” though did not expand upon the specifics behind the decision.
Various marquee players had been drafted to play in the league, including Rashid Khan, Eoin Morgan, Dale Steyn, Babar Azam and Faf du Plessis. The league is organised by the same consortium that runs the Global T20 in Canada, which was marred by player protests understood to concern unpaid wages.
It is understood that the players had been unaware of the tournament’s cancellation before the statement was issued. Hours earlier, both Peter Trego and Ben Cutting – who had been signed by the Rotterdam and Amsterdam franchises respectively – had tweeted about preparations for the tournament.
“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,” the statement said. “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, the chief executive of Cricket Ireland, said the board was “deeply disappointed with the decision”.
“However, we fully empathise with the rationale that has led to the tournament’s postponement,” Deutrom said. “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 will continue to engage with the event organisers to ensure all commitments are met to their fullest extent, including any receivables owing to Cricket Ireland itself. We will additionally be seeking increased comfort that the organisers will be able to avoid a repeat of this year’s challenges in future editions.”
Malcolm Cannon, the chief executive of Cricket Scotland, said: “While this was a very difficult decision to make at this late stage, we believe that it is the right one and one which leaves us with a great opportunity to launch the Euro T20 Slam next year with its deserved noise level.”
Betty Timmer, Chair of KNCB, said: “As said, it is extremely disappointing that the Euro T20 Slam is not going ahead in 2019. With the scheduled opening games only two weeks away the KNCB was looking forward to this exciting new event that would have brought cricket much closer to the Dutch fans.”
More to follow.