Belfast Telegraph

Cricket: Stormont waiting for nod to host England qualifier

By Ian Callender

Stormont is in line to host another major tournament next summer, the qualifiers for the second Twenty20 World Championship in England in 2009.

Following last weeek's meeting of the six ICC High Performance countries in Dubai, Ireland are hoping to be confirmed as the venue for the tournament which will decide the two associate nations to join the 10 ICC Full members at the next Twenty20 World championships.

And with the qualifying event due to take place in the first week of August 2008, immediately after the European Championships in Dublin, the exciting six-team tournament over the shortest form of the game, is certain to take place in Belfast, if the Irish Cricket Union get the go-ahead to host the tourney.

Ireland lost out on a place in the inaugural finals to Scotland and Kenya this year when they lost four of their five games at the World League in Nairobi.

Next time, however, instead of qualifying for a Twenty20 event from a 50-overs tournament, the ICC's Development Committee have recommended a qualifier using the same conditions to ensure the best associates in the shortest form of the game progress to the profitable finals. Cricket Scotland and Kenya both received £125,000 just for qualifying.

The ICC must make the decision because the HP countries - the six World Cup qualifiers - could not agree on a venue at last week's meeting. The Netherlands are also keen to host it but the busy schedule in the second half of next summer should make Ireland favourites.

Not only are the Dutch and Scotland both in Dublin the previous week, for the Euro championships, but Canada will also fly in for the Inter-Continental Cup game against Ireland, provisionally fixed for August 6-9.

The draw for the group stages of the Twenty20 finals has already taken place and the winners of the qualifying tournament would be in the same section as Pakistan and the hosts, an Ireland victory giving them the chance to face the England team on their home soil for the first time ever - a game that would attract a huge travelling support for Ireland.

The outgoing ICU executive, meanwhile, will meet for the last time on January 6.

The 'extra' meeting was confirmed at yesterday's executive which agreed the composition of the Nominations Commitee to appoint the four independent members of the new board.

It will be chaired by incoming chairman David Williams (Leinter) and the other three unions will also have a representative, along with one member from each of the two sports councils.

The EGM to dissolve the present organisation and set up the new company will take place on Sunday February 3 and the first AGM of the new board will take place later that day when all 11 directors will be appointed.

Belfast Telegraph


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