UAE T20 league sets USD 450000 annual contract for top players

The UAE-based International League T20 (ILT20) will offer top players a staggering $450,000 per season, making it the second most lucrative T20 league for some players outside the IPL.

The league is sanctioned – but not owned* by the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) and is led by a team led by ECB Vice-President Khalid al Zarooni and the Board’s General Secretary Mubashir Usmani. The league will kick off in January 2023 with an overall salary cap of potentially $2.5 million per team.

It is the prospect of this kind of money that has linked the league to the likes of David Warner who, according to reports, could skip the Australian BBL to play the ILT20 in the UAE.

In perspective, the highest paid player in the IPL earns more than $2 million per season; in the PSL it is USD 200,000; the Hundred offers its highest paid player $164,000; and the most expensive foreign players in the BBL earn about $238,000 per season.

The UAE competition includes six franchises with 18-man squads and will be played in the UAE between January 6 and February 12. Each team plays against the others twice in a competition phase, followed by four play-off games for a total of 34 games.

Three of the six franchises in ILT20 have owners with teams in the IPL – Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Capitals. The other three teams are owned by Lancer Capital, led by Avram Glazer, part of Manchester United, Indian business conglomerate Adani Group and Capri Global.

While the league aims to raise awareness and identify future talent from the UAE, it is in some ways the first truly global league: each franchise can have up to 12 foreign players in an 18-man roster. At least three members in a roster must be UAE players, two from other Associates, as well as one UAE player under the age of 23. A playing XI can have up to nine foreign players, along with at least one UAE and one Associate player.

According to a document describing the rules and regulations of the ILT20, seen by ESPNcricnfo, there are nine pay slots for players, with a top tier payout of $340,000 and a lowest slot of $10,000.

The total grant currently stands at USD 2.5 million, although this includes a “minimum wage” of USD 1.5 million and then the option for a franchisee to pay up to USD 500,000 as a sign-on or loyalty bonus, and a additional USD 500.00 as bidding exchange. Both the loyalty bonus, which is reserved for direct signatures only, and the bidding exchange are optional amounts.

The maximum salary a player can get – what the league calls the “total instant payout” – is $450,000. The “total instant payout” is the sum of the pay box plus a loyalty bonus. For example, a player who is chosen for a slot with the highest pay of $340,000 can get up to another $110,000 as a loyalty bonus if the franchise wants to activate that clause.

In the document, organizers describe player acquisition in two ways. The majority of a squad is chosen through AUDRA, a unique hybrid model based on a player concept and an auction. Up to five players can be acquired directly by a franchise, outside of AUDRA.

But it is believed that franchises are now in talks with the league again to consider signing all foreign players directly and limiting the auction to just the UAE players. This is a result of the competition the franchises expect from the T20 league that Cricket South Africa plans to launch in the same window. In May, ESPNcricinfo revealed that the salary cap in that league was $1.5 million, the second-highest at the time. Other details of that league are not yet known, but as all six franchises have been acquired by IPL owners, salaries are expected to be competitive.

The franchises have told the ILT20 organizers that they have the best chance of acquiring a larger pool of good players if they can negotiate directly with players, without having to go through the AUDRA as originally planned. The teams also said that if allowed, the grant could be capped at $2 million, consisting of a $1.5 million minimum wage and a $500,000 discretionary pot that can be used for certain players. The maximum salary ceiling of USD 450,000 will be maintained.

Officials involved in discussions point out that by allowing direct signing, they can counter situations where a player can withdraw after entering AUDRA, if he does not get the desired amount. As for the risk that the player could decline if he is not satisfied with the amount offered during direct talks with the franchise, an official said he would still have more options to choose from instead of waiting for his turn. in a draft. .

A final decision will probably be taken this week by the ILT20.

*11.46 GMT, July 28: The story previously said the ILT20 was owned by the Emirates Cricket Board, a bug that has been fixed.

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo

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