Dubai: UAE T20X, which is poised to join the ranks of the numerous big-money Twenty20 leagues around the globe, has called for potential franchise owners.

The bidding process for enabling investors to buy into five teams have started.

Speaking to Gulf News, Salman Sarwar Butt, the Chief Executive of the tournament and OPi Sports, a private company, organised in partnership with Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), said: “This league will have five international teams named after five emirates and create a pathway for a lot of youngsters.”

This will be first time local or international investors have been able to own a UAE sporting asset.

“We have got support from the ICC,” added Butt. “They have approved this event and we have support from many countries. We are extremely excited to finally open up the bidding phase of our league, which has already garnered a lot interest from experienced franchise owners and investors from all over the cricketing world. We believe this is down to the truly international nature of our product — which is not only an exciting commercial proposition but a clear point of difference to the other franchise leagues in the market.”

League’s teams will feature a squad of 16 men, including six international star players, four emerging and junior players, three ICC Associate Member players, and three UAE national team players.

Franchise bidders will be given the option of buying a 10-year license for one of the five teams, which will be fronted by a global Icon Player. UAE T20X has revealed the top players who have been roped in as the Icons. They include South African all-rounder David Miller, T20 specialist Andre Russell and England’s one-day captain Eoin Morgan. Potential franchise buyers can formally register their interest and download the Invitation to Tender form with the league’s licensed owner OPI Sports though the UAE T20x website

The league also had earlier announced AB de Villiers as its Global Ambassador. Franchise owners will be able to select the best of cricket players from the talent pool during the UAE T20X auction and draft, which is scheduled for the beginning on November. The UAE T20X will he held from December 19 to January 11. The event will comprise of 22 matches played over 24 days.