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Country name for franchise nothing new

first-caribbean-premier-league-to-be-heldBy Vinode Mamchan, Guardian Media

Franchises carrying names of certain countries or cities is nothing new and is well accepted across the sporting world. This is the view of a top official of the Caribbean Premier League. According to the official: “It is surprising to hear an outcry in some quarters against the franchise-based concept as pushed by the CPL when it is clear this is the growing trend and accepted model in global professional sports. The argument that has been put forward is that a franchise should not carry the name of a country if the players comprising that 15-member franchise are not nationals of that country. This, indeed, is baffling.” In recent times, the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) has made their feelings known on the fact that the local franchise will be called the T&T Red Steel. They sent out a press release stating that they supported the call of T&T Red Steel player Samuel Badree that the franchises should not carry the names of the respective countries in the Caribbean.

The official in responding to this continued: “In the Indian Premier League, West Indies batsman Chris Gayle represents Royal Challengers Bangalore, a franchise which is based in the city of Bangalore. This is a franchise which also has on its roster Sri Lankan Tillakaratne Dilshan, South African AB de Villiers and Australian Daniel Christian. “Furthermore, several of the Indian stars on the Royal Challengers side do not hail from Bangalore. For instance, leading batsman Virat Kohli was born in Delhi and represents Delhi in the first-class competition. The same goes for global sports. In the NBA, players from various cities are drafted or bought by franchises from outside of their home city. Arguably the league’s biggest star, Lebron James, is out of the US state of Ohio but represents the Miami Heat in Florida. “Further, NBA franchises field players past and present who represent nations such as China, France, Africa, Turkey and Spain. European football is another classic example. Manchester United, which plays in the English Premier League, is based in the North England city of Manchester but boasts an array of stars who are neither from the city of Manchester nor from the United Kingdom for that matter.

“It is important to note that while the references here are to cities, the limited geographical space of the Caribbean makes it more practical to utilise the names of countries rather than cities. In fact, the collection of sovereign island states that is the Caribbean strengthens the uniqueness of the country franchise names!” The official went on to explain: “Interestingly enough, the franchise-type model is already used widely throughout the Caribbean and especially in Trinidad and Tobago, which boasts very developed cricket and football leagues. Guyanese, Barbadian and Jamaican players already represent local clubs in the country’s cricket Premier Division, as well as in the Trinidad and Tobago Pro League football tournaments. “This free movement of Caribbean players to play for clubs in other Caribbean countries is in keeping with the current integration project in the region, at the heart of which is the free movement of workers, especially sportspersons. “The franchise structure of the CPL is perhaps one of the best examples of this free movement of players and best captures one of the ideas of regional integration, that of bringing the Caribbean closer together as one economic space. It is an opportunity to foster a kindred spirit among Caribbean people but not necessarily nationally. The support for the T&T Red Steel should bring cricket fans into the new era of the game.” The CPL bowls off on July 30 in Barbados with the Barbados Trident playing the St Lucia Zouks.

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