RIL subsidiary will own team in UAE T20

League Reliance Industries has announced that it will acquire the rights to own and run a new franchise cricket team in the Emirates Cricket Board’s future UAE T20 League through its subsidiary Reliance Strategic Business Ventures Ltd (RSBVL).

According to the firm, this is the first significant overseas development of Reliance Industries’ cricket operations in global franchise-based cricket tournaments.

“We are incredibly proud to have built a worldwide franchise in Mumbai Indians, combined with high values and ethos, as well as our contribution to the Indian cricket environment,” Mumbai Indians owner Akash Ambani said in a statement. “We are equally optimistic of establishing another strong brand in the UAE and contributing our experiences to the growth of cricket in the UAE.”

The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) has sanctioned the six-team league, which is aiming to create a place in the January-February window, however, its inaugural edition in 2022 is likely to be contested in February-March.

Although the ECB has granted the league authorization, it is being directed by a team led by the board’s vice-chairman, Khalid Al Zarooni, general secretary Mubashir Usmani, and Subhan Ahmed, who is an advisor to the board and a former senior PCB official. They will be in charge of the operational staff that will most likely comprise former IMG officials.

Usmani was pleased with Mumbai Indians’ affiliation with the UAE T20 League. “The trust that big business houses have demonstrated in the UAE T20 League is tremendously encouraging,” he remarked. “We are thrilled that RIL has joined the League as a franchise team owner.”

We are very confident that this association will be mutually beneficial for both RIL and the League and will support cricket development in the UAE, having seen the professionalism in the operations of Mumbai Indians in the IPL, their success in putting together the most successful team in franchise cricket, and the passion with which they pursue their goals.”

According to a league official, the owners of the Knight Riders club are “on board” to own one of the sides as well. The Glazer family, who control Manchester United, Capri Global, who recently bid for an IPL franchise but were unsuccessful, the Big Bash League’s Sydney Sixers, and Kiran Kumar Grandhi, a co-owner of the Delhi Capitals, are all potential club owners.

The Knight Riders group also has a team in the Caribbean Premier League (Trinbago Knight Riders), and in December 2020, they purchased a “substantial” ownership in the USA-based franchise.