The Sri Lanka Premier League has undergone a significant structural change, adopting a franchise system, with teams coming under private ownership instead of the SLC's control, and a draft system for those franchises to pick their players. The changes were announced on Wednesday by Sri Lanka Cricket, which also started the tender process for the franchise system. The SLC would have owned all seven teams had the tournament gone ahead as planned in 2011, but ESPNcricinfo understands that private commercial interest in owning teams has led the board to change its stance.
Basnahira - Tillakaratne Dilshan
Kandurata - Kumar Sangakkara
Nagenahira - International player, yet to be named
Ruhuna - Lasith Malinga
Uthura - Muttiah Muralitharan
Uva - International player, yet to be named
Wayamba - Mahela Jayawardene
The reserve price for the franchises has been set at $3 million. The teams will be leased for an initial period of seven years, following which the franchisees will need to sign a fresh agreement but will have the first right of refusal. Those interested in owning a franchise will be allowed to bid for up to three teams. The tender process closes on June 25 and the bids will be opened the same day and the teams awarded to the highest bidders.
Under the original system, SLC would have assigned players to each team. However, given private ownership of the teams, there will now be a draft along the lines of the one held by the National Basketball Association in the United States. In the first year, a lottery will be held to determine the order in which players are picked. SLC will determine the value of the contract for each player in advance and the franchises will be made aware of the cost of the player. The players are likely to be drafted in two groups - the first consisting of players from Sri Lanka and the second all the foreign players. The draft is being seen as the best way to ensure that players are evenly distributed among the teams, making it a level playing field.
The seven provinces that will form teams are Basnahira, Kandurata, Nagenahira, Ruhuna, Uthura, Uva and Wayamaba. Each franchise will have an icon player, two of whom will be foreign players, and teams will be allowed a maximum of 18 players, out of which six can be foreign players.
Teams will be allowed play a maximum of four foreign players per game. Out of the remaining seven players in the XI, one must be a Sri Lanka Under-21 international.
SLC had signed a new deal with Somerset Entertainment Ventures to hold the league on May 5. Initially, the SLPL was supposed to kick off last year, with SLC's then interim committee signing a five-year deal with Somerset Entertainment Ventures to organise the event. However, the Sri Lankan board was forced to postpone the tournament after the BCCI refused to allow its players to participate at the last minute, causing a delay in the naming of the final composition of the teams and affecting overall preparations for the event. In addition, the interim committee that signed the deal was subsequently replaced and there was criticism of some of the clauses in the contract by the parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE), prompting a new deal to be drawn up.
The Sri Lanka Cricket Board invited bids to sponsor the seven teams in their IPL-style Twenty20 Premier League amid continued refusal by their Indian counterparts to send their players which forced the postponement of the event last year.
The cash-strapped Sri Lanka Cricket Board are offering private individuals or corporate bodies the opportunity to be a part of the "world's newest and most exciting Twenty20 league," they said in a statement.
They plan to lease out all the teams for seven years for the SLPL tournament which begins in August.
The bids are invited until June 25 and an individual or corporate body will be allowed to bid for three teams but win only one.
The Sri Lanka Premier League will have a franchise model this year as against the SLC-owned model that was planned had it started last season. The seven teams which will participate in the Sri Lanka Premier League, will be owned by franchises. Corporations or individuals will need to bid for the right as a franchise of up to three teams. The reserve price of each team will be $3 million.
Those winning the bids will own the teams for a period of seven years after which they will have the right to first refusal. You can check the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) 2012 schedule here.
More interestingly, players will be assigned to each team by using the draft system. This will be very similar to the one used in NBA in the USA, with a lottery to decide the order in which the teams can sign up the players.
Player contracts will be determined by SLC in advance and the franchises will be informed accordingly. The players could be drafted in two groups – Sri Lankan players and international cricketers. The advantage that a draft system has over an auction – that IPL employs – is that the wealthy teams do not start off with an unfair advantage.
The seven Sri Lankan provinces which will be available to the franchises are Basnahira, Kandurata, Nagenahira, Ruhuna, Uthura, Uva and Wayamaba. The teams will have an icon player each and a maximum of 18 players will be allowed each squad. The franchises can also sign up for six overseas players at the most.
The icon players for respective teams in the Sri Lanka Premier League are as follows; Basnahira will have Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kandurata will be represented by Kumar Sangakkara, Lasith Malinga will be the icon player for Ruhuna, Uthura will have Muthiah Muraliatharan while Mahela Jayawardene will represent Wayamba. Nagenahira and Uva will have foreign cricketers as their icon player.
Playing 11s can have a maximum of four foreign players per game. The rest of the seven players need to be Sri Lankan players, of which one will be a Sri Lanka Under-21 international.
ESS bags broadcast rights for Sri Lanka Premier League
ESPN STAR Sports has reached a multi-year broadcast rights agreement for exclusive coverage of the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) in India. The first edition of this T20 league will be played in August 2012.
ESPN STAR Sports’ broadcast rights agreement also includes live coverage of the SLPL in the territories of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Nepal, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand
The multi-year deal includes a minimum of 24 T20 matches per season. The first edition of the SLPL will see seven provisional teams compete for the coveted trophy as well as a qualifier berth to the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) to be held later this year. The SLPL will feature 42 international players participating from seven countries. Star Cricket, Star Sports and ESPN will broadcast all the matches in India starting August 11, 2012.
SLPL player contract: New clauses to safeguard player payments
Players' associations have insisted on pre-emptive measures to ensure cricketers playing in the Sri Lanka Premier League are paid on time, Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) chief executive Tim May has revealed.
The Sri Lankan Cricketers' Association and FICA were successful in pushing for the inclusion of new clauses in player contracts, drawn up specifically for the tournament. Under these clauses, players must be paid 25% of their tournament salary upon arrival in the SLPL, another 25% upon completion of their team's first match, and the remaining 50% after the team's last match.
A bank guarantee for the players' full salaries has also been included in the contracts as a safety net, and outstanding pay will be automatically drawn down seven days after any defaulted pay day.
According to May, the measures had been taken in light of a worsening trend of players going unpaid, or receiving only part of their pay from domestic T20 competitions, and the SLPL being a new tournament with no positive payment history to show.
"If anything goes terribly amiss and the bank guarantee is not available, then the player's got every right to say, 'Sorry, you haven't kept your end of the deal; I'm not keeping mine'"
"We've learnt now from start-up tournaments that we need to change the contracts to protect the players better, so we've then gone down the next line of introducing greater protection for the players.
"This won't be confined to the SLPL. For other start-ups like competitions in the USA next year, and the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) where we're experiencing problems as we speak, we'll be insisting on these bank guarantees to cover the full amount of player payment."