New European Champions League cues immediate controversy

Bertus de Jong 08/12/18

The announcement of a new European “Champions League” competition for clubs from around the continent has precipitated immediate controversy in the Netherlands, with HBS Craeyenhout contesting VOC Rotterdam’s right to represent the Dutch in the tournament.

CaptureThe new initiative will see clubs from the Netherlands, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Romania, Russia and Spain meet at the Desert Springs facility in Almería in southern Spain at the end of July next year to compete for the title of European Champions. The KNCB announced yesterday that they had nominated 2018 Topklasse champions VOC as the Dutch representatives, but HBS maintain that as winners of the T20 Cup last year by rights they should be the ones making the trip. “We will be contesting VOC’s nomination. It makes no sense to send the TK champion to a T20 tournament” incoming HBS cricket Chair Ewout Boendermaker told TKcricket.

As it turns out the first edition of the European Cricket League will in fact be contested in the newly-fashionable T10 format, organisers confirmed today, but the eight clubs participating have qualified through various formats. “Each federation has chosen their top competition champion – some 50 over, some 40 over, some T20.” a spokesman for the ECL clarified. It is hard to argue that the Topklasse is certainly the more prestigious title in the Netherlands, with the T20 competition even suffering from occasional no-shows, yet it’s difficult to deny that the choice of 50-over Champions for a 10-over competition is on the face of it rather surprising.

Dutch cricket, of course, loves nothing better than a spot of controversy and Dutch fans are quick to pounce on the merest hint of competitievervalsing, indeed the ECL would hardly be a proper competition if there wasn’t someone at the ALV decrying it as a stitch-up. Yet while rumours of a berth at a new European club championship for the Topklasse champions have been circulating since at least mid-July, it’s nonetheless concerning that some clubs appear to have been better-informed than others.

Not for the first time Dutch cricket finds itself plunged into a needless controversy that could have been headed off by better communication or consultation, though at least the organisers of the new competition can take comfort from the evident fact that a place at the European Championships is seen as a prize worth fighting over.

The European Cricket League will take place from July 30th to August 1st 2019 at Desert Springs Club, Almería. The following sides have qualified:

SG Findorff Cricket Bremen (Germany)
Svanholm CC (Denmark)
VOC Rotterdam (the Netherlands)
Brescia CC (Italy)
Cluj CC (Romania)
St Petersburg (Russia)
Dreux CC (France)
Catalunya CC (Spain)

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