Butt-led board scrapped PPL plans

Umar Farooq April 17, 2010

LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to take heed of Haroon Lorgat’s warning for the local board to improve its domestic circuit by chalking out plans to implement the Pakistan Premier League (PPL), an idea conceived during Nasim Ashraf’s tenure.

While planning is still in its initial phases, officials from the past tenure told The Express Tribune that despite substantial financial backing and foreign interest, the Ijaz Butt reign decided to dump the idea thus robbing the PCB of valuable income through franchise-purchasing.

“We had full plans for the tournament and were set to launch the PPL right after the Champions Trophy 2008,” Nadeem Akram, former director HR and Admin, told The Express Tribune. “We hired consultants from Singapore, set up the teams and players for the six-franchise event and international players, including Shane Warne, confirmed their participation.”

Akram also confirmed that interested parties willing to buy franchises included the chairman of MCB Mian Muhammad Mansha, stakeholders from the UAE and a close friend of Ashraf residing in the US. A sports management company, Portfolio World, which helped Pakistan players get IPL contracts also confirmed to this newspaper that “it had offered their services to launch an IPL type event in Pakistan but we were never taken seriously”.

PCB’s Chief Operating Officer Wasim Bari has endorsed the previously-scrapped plans but refused to divulge any information until they near completion. Recently, the current setup had showed no interest in establishing the League but, when contacted with the revelation, acted tactfully by stating that they “did not want to bring it in public until things were fully planned”.

“Things are going in the right direction,” said Bari. “We have people from our country as well as foreigners who are interested [in buying a franchise].”