Dubai: The UAE T20x, scheduled to be held from December 19 to January 11, has been called off as they could not find franchise owners for the proposed five squads.

Confirming this to Gulf News, Salman Sarwar Butt, chief executive of the tournament and OPi Sports, a private company, organised in partnership with Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) to stage the event, said: “Time was short to find owners for the five teams as well as to have all commercial deals in time for event.”.

Speaking from Lahore where he is currently attending the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Annual General Meeting, Zayed Abbas, the ECB member said: “It is unfortunate but the decision was made and agreed by all to shelve the league due to many reasons.”

The ECB and OPi were hopeful of achieving the sale of five franchise teams for the first year of the tournament. It was felt that there was no longer sufficient time to close the sales process and to successfully deliver and promote a December event.

One of the main reasons for the lack of time was the International Cricket Council’s intention to limit the number of leagues players the can play in worldwide last summer. “The decision of the ICC in July to explore potential limitations on T20 cricket leagues and player participation in them, meant that investment into UAE T20x had to be curtailed throughout the summer in anticipation of a decision. This, in turn impacted timings around commercial conversations with potential franchise buyers,” said ECB through a statement.

The league had announced five icon players in Eoin Morgan, David Miller, Andre Russell, Shahid Afridi and Kumar Sangakkara with AB de Villiers as the league’s non-playing ambassador. Over 500 players from around the world had registered for player-draft which was scheduled for next week.

The league was to feature five squads of 16 players each, including six international star players, four emerging and junior players, three ICC Associate Member players and three UAE national team players.