May 24: Amir Akhter, the founder of Everest Premier League, has expressed concerns over the recent decision of the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) to halt the Everest Premier League. He has urged the cricket governing body to let the the franchise league be held.
Speaking at a press conference held in Hotel Yak and Yeti on May 23, Akhter expressed his concern over the CAN's decision to restrict the EPL.
Similarly, Vishal Agrawal, owner of Biratnagar Warriors and director of Bishal Group, shared that the decision of CAN has discouraged the private sector and has jeopardized its investment in the sporting sector of Nepal.
CAN has announced a new league-Nepal T20 League. The cricket regulatory body also announced that it will be the only franchise league in Nepal, which has affected the EPL and the franchise team associated with it. The organizer of EPL and six owners held a joint press conference on Monday and asked CAN to give continuity to the EPL. According to the ICC rules, there will be only one league in a country, and now Nepal will have only one T20 league. But the EPL, founder Aamir Akhtar and the owners of six franchise teams have demanded that they be allowed to continue the EPL.
The cricket authority has cornered us and our effort, time and investment by stopping the EPL. The authorities didn't even make any prior discussion with the concerned stakeholders while coming up with such a major decision, he shared.
Likewise, Kishor Maharjan, former CEO of Civil Bank and owner of Lalitpur Patriots, shared that he is extremely saddened by the decision of CAN to stop EPL. As the owner of the team, we are in trouble. We had put all-our investment, time and effort into our team with a long term vision and now, as things were improving, CAN has deceived us and our faith in investing in sports has become doubtful, he added.
According to Akhter and the six owners, EPL is the 5th biggest franchise T20 league in the world. EPL finished its fourth edition last year and is the number one T20 franchise among the non-Test playing nations. The fourth edition of the league was broadcasted in 18 countries including, India, Akhter shared.
CAN has not done justice to our effort as EPL was on the verge to be an export product and would put Nepali cricket on the global map. Our efforts were not recognized by CAN and we want to voice our emotions through the media, Akhter added.
Kishor Bhattrai shared that the only demand is to allow the continuity of EPL.
"We are not against the new league but the decision made is a big shock to the entire sports industry. A lot has been invested in the event. Who will give our investment back, why would someone invest in the sector in the days to come if there is no certainty? We only want the event which has been ranked 5th in the world to continue. CAN should think again about the decision and not stop EPL. We are raising the voice here not only for cricket but for all the sports," he shared.
Likewise, giving the example of sports industries abroad Bhattrai opined that the issue is due to a lack of professional sports acts.
Similarly, Aditya Shanghai, owner of Bhairahawa Gladiators shared that the step taken by CAN is a big discouragement for the private sector to invest in the sports sector.
Similarly, EPL is the best example of private and public investment. We were in a situation of bringing in IPL investors. It would have taken the cricket scenario to the next level with personal expertise. EPL is the cleanest league in the world in terms of transparency.
Sanjay Agrawal, owner of Kathmandu Kings XI shared that the time, money and effort invested by the corporate house have all gone in vain.
Likewise, Sahil Agrawal, owner of Pokhara Rhinos shared that CAN's decision to give license to a new league and discontinue the existing league is nonsensical. Our only demand is to allow the league to happen while continuing the new league, he added.