When Champions Trophy T20 was first introduced in 2008, only a few section of people knew that the idea of such a tournament was inspired by the UEFA Champions League, a tournament that features the top teams from the top plight Leagues that take place in European Countries. Champions League is held every year and has a bench mark for the number of teams participating from each country.
Likewise, the CLT20, which was invented by Lalit Modi and governed by the boards of India, Australia and South Africa, had a yardstick for the number of teams participating from each country. In 2008, it was announced that two teams (winners and runners) each from India, South Africa and Australia along with the Champions from Pakistan and England will be a part of the tournament. The 2008 edition was eventually cancelled courtesy Mumbai Terror Attacks.
The 2009 edition went global as teams from West Indies and Sri Lanka participated in it. England had two teams and India a team extra in the tournament whereas South Africa and Australia had two teams each. In the 2011 edition, qualifiers were introduced in the Champions League T20. The three teams from India, two each from Australia and South Africa are direct entrants and six teams played in a qualifiers to grab the remaining three spots in the tournaments.
Those six teams included a team from New Zealand, West Indies, Sri Lanka, two from England apart from a fourth team from India. The participation of a fourth team from India raised few eyebrows among the people all over the world and they started criticising that the BCCI is misusing the power and are partial towards IPL teams. There are even claims that CLT20 is biased to the IPL sides.
But the reality is the Indian viewership will fetch the organisers more money when compared to the viewership’s in South Africa and Australia. That is one of the main reason why the organisers are inviting four IPL sides. Organisers should be blamed for this as their motive is just to make money.
The absence of English teams from the tournament might hurt few fans as well. Their absence from the CLT20 is nowhere related to the BCCI because, despite CLT20, having an ICC window in the FTP, the ECB has refused to send its team to the tournament as the CLT20 schedule affects their county season.
The only area where the CLT20 organisers maintained double standards is in the 2012 edition when Mumbai Indians finished fourth in IPL. On the virtue of being the defending CLT20 champions at that time, they directly qualified for the tournament without playing the qualifier and in the following season, Sydney Sixers failed to make it to the tournament to defend their title which they won in 2012 just because they failed to finish in the top 2 of the Big Bash League.
This should be the quota given to the countries in the future. Defending Champions, two teams each from India, Australia and South Africa, 1 team from West Indies, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Pakistan in the main draw. If the defending Champions are qualified through their league position, the next team in that particular league table should be given a chance.
If the CLT20 had maintained the same yardstick since its inception, it would have been as popular as the UEFA Champions League. Hope the CLT20 organisers maintain a same yardstick for all the countries and carry out the tournament without any partiality claims in the future.
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