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GMR Group to own Dubai franchise in UAE T20 League

GMR Group already owns the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise, Delhi Capitals.

GMR Group, an Indian infrastructure company, has acquired the rights to own and operate the Dubai franchise in the UAE T20 League, which will be held in the United Arab Emirates.

The six-team league is still on track to be played in 2022. The senior committee members were encouraged by the enormous interest shown by several high-profile individuals and well-established corporates from around the world.

GMR Group already owns the Delhi Capitals (DC) of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Nevertheless, after securing ownership rights to a team in the UAE T20 League, it will be their first overseas expansion in terms of cricket operations.

G.M. Rao, Group Chairman at GMR Group said, “UAE continues to impress with its progressive, positive mindset toward sport and the business of sport, and we believe these traits align well with our group strategy to support sports from grass-roots through to international level while being effective in engaging with the community. Our group is convinced that UAE T20 League proposed structure and plans will leverage these unique traits of UAE.

“Our team has 14-seasons’ experience in managing the franchise process, through our Delhi Capital team’s involvement in the Indian Premier League (IPL), and we will integrate the same elements of these processes into UAE T20 League and help establish it as a premier and an integral part of the global cricket ecosystem.”

Khalid Al Zarooni, Vice-Chairman at Emirates Cricket Board said, “UAE T20 League considers itself very fortunate to have engaged in a series of very meaningful discussions with various potential stakeholders interested in investing in our League. These discussions have proven very rewarding culminating in us being extremely honoured to welcome GMR Group as our partner. The standing of this League, across the cricketing world, is vitally important to us, and we have aligned ourselves with partners that share the same values toward the game; holding its spirit, integrity and longevity to the highest regard.”

Mubashshir Usmani, General Secretary at Emirates Cricket Board said, “As an ICC Associate Member Emirates Cricket is cognisant of the need to compete against ICC Full Members to further develop player skills and match performance. At its heart, the UAE T20 League will provide this opportunity for players within the Associate structure to play alongside world-class Internationals and be provided with a much-needed opportunity to showcase their skills to a wider audience. We are confident this League will quickly establish itself as one of our pioneering events and will shape cricket to new heights.”

Kiran Kumar Grandhi, Corporate Chairman at GMR Group said, “UAE, has a world-class niche of cross-cultural individuals with a big cricket fan following and excellent cricket infrastructure. We, at GMR Group based on our years of experience in the IPL, will harness to create a thriving cricket environment for budding players which will infinitely excite cricket aficionados. From our solid supportive management, we will bring best practices, processes, top-notched coaches, players, and support staff to have an unparalleled professional team. That said, we will need your love and support throughout the first season of this league as we solidify a high-calibre Dubai Franchise team.”

Earlier, Avram Glazer, co-chairman of the Premier League club, Manchester United, has also acquired a team in the new T20 cricket competition.

Reliance Industries, through its subsidiary, Reliance Strategic Business Ventures Ltd (RSBVL), announced in November last year that it had acquired the rights to own and operate a new franchise cricket team in the league.

Meanwhile, the GMR-owned DC have recently inked a sponsorship deal with the investment services brand, OctaFX. With this deal, OctaFX has been named as the principal sponsor of the Delhi-based team.

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