Calcutta: In a significant break from the past, the telecast rights for the (much delayed) eighth Asia Cup — to be hosted by Sri Lanka from July 16-August 1 — will only be awarded to an entity which has its own channel.
“Among other things, this pre-condition is going to ensure greater transparency… After all, no middlemen or a third party will be involved,” Asian Cricket Council (ACC) chief executive Syed Ashraful Huq told The Telegraph on Thursday.
Specifically, the likes of Global Cricket Corporation won’t be able to bid for a tournament bound to have exceedingly high viewership.
Speaking from New Delhi, the Kuala Lumpur-based Huq informed that a “global tender” is going to be floated once the ACC has signed the host nation’s agreement with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).
According to Huq, on his way to Pakistan for a seminar, the agreement will be inked in Colombo on Wednesday after Asian Cricket Foundation (ACF) chairman Jagmohan Dalmiya’s meeting with officials from the government and SLC.
All ACC events, it may be recalled, are run by the more recently founded ACF, which handles financial and development matters. The last Asia Cup, by the way, was four years ago in Bangladesh.
Competition in the latest edition, featuring six teams (including 1996 World Cuppers UAE and Hong Kong), is going to be in two stages — two groups initially and, then, round-robin between four qualifiers. The top two will meet in the July 31 final (August 1 is the reserve day).
Incidentally, there’s going to be a reserve day for all matches in the round-robin stage as well. However, no match will be played afresh as the International Cricket Council (ICC) has okayed the to-be-continued arrangement.
India have been clubbed with runners-up Sri Lanka in Group B, which is completed by the UAE. Champions Pakistan head the easier Group A, where the other teams are Bangladesh and ACC Trophy runners-up Hong Kong.
While the itinerary won’t be announced before Wednesday, the India-UAE match is likely to figure on the opening day. Both Pakistan and Sri Lanka should get into action on Day II.
Dambulla is a ‘contender’, but Huq indicated the tournament is going to be played at just two centres in Colombo: The lovely Sinhalese Sports Club and the Premadasa Stadium.
Incidentally, Asia Cup No.8 will have “four principal sponsors” but (as of now) nobody is going to get the title rights. That’s in keeping with the ICC policy from the 1999 World Cup onwards.