IPL stays unofficial

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The International Cricket Council (ICC) has rejected the renegade Indian Cricket League's (ICL) application for approved unofficial status.

The decision, made during a mid–April 2009 ICC Board meeting in Dubai, leaves the futures of those players signed by the League in the hands of individual board members, although the ICC suggested that players should not be allowed to move between official and unofficial cricket at will. Pakistan has already indicated that it will not select ICL players for its national team. "The Board gave the matter careful consideration but, looking at the criteria set out in the regulations, felt the application for approval could not be granted, '' said ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat. The ICL has yet to respond to the news, but an appeal appears likely. ICL powerbroker Subhash Chandra warned that the League will pursue legal options should it not receive official recognition. The ICL, bankrolled by Chandra, chairman of Indian business conglomerate Essel Group, has been in a bitter dispute with the BCCI and its own Twenty20 tournament, the DLF (sponsor) Indian Premier League (IPL), with several countries having banned players with links to the ICL from international sides. Chandra had said: "ICL has emerged as a true global sports brand. We have successfully conducted seven tournaments through our pioneering league. Every edition has seen new innovations, additional sports facilities and a larger talent base to entertain the sports consumer and ICL Season Three will be no different. We are utilising the off–season period to further enhance the features of the sports product, to deliver a more vibrant and entertaining brand of cricket for the sports fans of the country. We are hopeful to receive official recognition at the ICC Executive Board meeting; failing which we will pursue legal options. "Meanwhile, DLF, sponsor of the IPL has launched a scholarship programme in South Africa to coincide with the beginning of the tournament in the country. The R8m Help Educate And Teach (HEAT) scheme, available for schools and individual learners, will be among the largest community programmes in South Africa by a sports organisation. The programme was launched at Alexander Sinton High School in Cape Town, one of the first beneficiaries with a R100, 000 donation to the dedicated scholarship fund at the school. Lalit Modi, chairman and commissioner of the IPL, said at the event: "Talented sports people can become big stars, but without a good education there is something missing from sporting achievement. And for those of us not blessed with outstanding sporting talent, our futures are built on ensuring that we stay in school and equip ourselves for a productive and successful life. This emphasis on education is now paying off many times over as India has grown into an economic powerhouse far better equipped to lift people out of poverty. This experience and several similarities between India's and South Africa's programmes to address poverty were central to our decision to focus on education as the IPL's investment in South African communities in need. "About The Sport Briefing This story has been reproduced with the kind permission of The Sport Briefing. The Sport Briefing is published by PA Sport and can be found at: www. thesportbriefing. comThe Sport Briefing is updated as and when news happens, from across the global business of sport. The industry's biggest stories have an accompanying email alert, and The Sport Briefing sends subscribers a daily digest to give them an easy–to–read overview of the day's main events. Contact rory. squires@thesportbriefing. com for more information.

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