Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has confirmed and stated that they will be acquiring the rights of a new franchise cricket team in the upcoming UAE T20 League. RIL stated that they would be doing this deal through their subsidiary called Reliance Strategic Business Ventures Ltd (RSBVL).
Reliance already has rights to the five-time Indian Premier League champions, Mumbai Indians. However, after penning down the ownership rights of a team in the UAE T20 League, it will become their first expansion overseas in terms of cricket operations.
UAE T20 League is an initiative to expand the game of cricket in the Gulf countries, which will be handled by the Emirates Cricket Board.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman of the UAE T20 League and vice chairman, ECB, Khalid Al Zarooni said: “We aim to transform cricket in UAE through UAE T20 League. Our wider plan includes expansion of cricket through various development programs being conducted in UAE by the League franchisees including talent hunts, coaching, and training by some of the best in the business.
“RIL has the legacy with a proven track record in establishing the most successful team in franchise cricket. We are pleased to welcome RIL onboard and look forward to having an exciting and continuing alliance.”
Adding to it, Nita Ambani, co-owner and architect of Mumbai Indians, said: “With great pride and joy, we take our Mumbai Indians brand of fearless cricket to new geography. We are thankful to our fans, both in India and overseas, for supporting MI wholeheartedly. I look forward to strengthening and further expanding our global fanbase, and having a longer engagement with them through this new League.”
Lastly, Akash Ambani, owner of Mumbai Indians, said: “We are extremely proud to have created a global franchise in Mumbai Indians, integrated with high values and ethos and our contribution to the Indian cricket ecosystem. We are equally confident of shaping another successful brand in UAE and bring in our experiences to benefit the growth of cricket in UAE.”
The owners of the IPL franchise, Kolkata Knight Riders, and Manchester United, The Glazers family are also reportedly interested in owning a franchise in the UAE T20 league. But further reports regarding this matter are still awaited.
UAE T20 League will be consisting of six franchises in its initial years. However, it aims to provide more slots if it turns a big hit. With six teams participating in the tournament, 34 matches will be played, where some big cricket names will be seen. Mostly the tournament will be aiming to give more opportunities to the young cricketers to showcase their talent in front of the world.