In May, BCCI made a decision that effectively allowed IPL teams to play 'out-of-season' friendly matches overseas.
The idea to commercially exploit the IPL brand overseas
was formally proposed at the IPL workshop in Goa in January. Teams
welcomed the May decision, but their initial enthusiasm has been
dampened as conditions were laid out in an email that was sent to the
team owners on June 2, 2012.
BCCI wrote in the email that the friendly matches can only be
played in associate countries. "It's our responsibility to popularize
the T20 format in other [associate] countries. If the IPL teams can
organize such matches, it will be good for the game," a BCCI official
was quoted as saying.
Teams are said to be unhappy about this condition, since it is seen
as severely limiting the commercial opportunities. But this is not the
only reason for the unhappiness. BCCI has also said that the teams must
treat these as 'separate events,' and that separate contracts must be
signed with players who are selected to play in these friendlies. Teams
were hoping to use previously contracted players by amending their
A third restriction allows the IPL franchise to play just three
matches in a calendar year, between the months of June and
August. Despite its pronouncement regarding its responsibility to
popularize the sport in associate countries, BCCI appears to want to
control game-related aspects such as umpiring, match referee,
anti-corruption and anti-doping services for these friendly fixtures,
for which it expects to be compensated. This does not bode well for
USA's small but eminently qualified umpiring community, which might have
appreciated an opportunity to officiate in these friendly fixtures.
Not surprisingly, a majority of the franchises want these limitations
to be eased. “To begin with, the decision to play in associate
countries is the biggest problem. Almost all the teams wanted to play
these exhibition games in regular Test-playing nations," one team
official told HT Media, adding that 'there can be just no quality
cricket' in developing countries.
Whether BCCI relaxes its conditions or not, BCCI's decision already
works in USA's favor as it is an associate nation and the time window
coincides with the summer season in America. DreamCricket.com has
reliably learned that at least two teams are giving a series in USA a
serious look. However, the chances of that happening in 2012 are slim
Friendlies against IPL teams will provide a much needed boost to the
new T20 league announced by Cricket Holdings America that expects to
kick off in 2013. These international friendlies have worked well for
soccer. Major League Soccer (MLS) has had annual All-Star games against
international clubs since 2003. MLS' matches against EPL teams are
among the most popular fixtures on its calendar. The best of MLS played
and defeated Fulham FC (2005), Chelsea FC (2006), West Ham United FC
(2008). Everton FC defeated MLS All-Stars in 2009 and Manchester United
defeated them in 2010 and 2011.