Cricket's Euro T20 Slam, which was due to feature franchise teams from Dublin and Belfast, has been postponed just two weeks before the competition was due to begin.
The tournament was due to feature six city franchise teams from Ireland, Scotland, and the Netherlands but organisers say they've had to "reluctantly" postpone until 2020, amid reports they had run into financial difficulties.
England's World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan was among the players signed up for the competition.
Cricket Ireland's chief executive Warren Deutrom says they're "deeply disappointed with the decision" and "hope that interest will carry on until 2020".
Prashant Mishra, speaking on behalf of the Board of the Euro T20 Slam, said in a statement: “The Board of the Euro T20 Slam, funding partners and franchise owners of this exciting new T20 tournament have reluctantly come to the decision that staging of the event will not be possible in 2019.
“We want to ensure that the inaugural staging of the Euro T20 Slam provides the best springboard to making this a truly flagship event on the global cricket calendar. As such, we believe the right course of action is to postpone the Slam to a further date. This will give us the necessary breathing space to ensure we are ready to go.
“We will work with the three cricket boards, our principal investors, the franchise owners, players and other stakeholders within the game to ensure we fulfil any commitments we have made to the extent possible. We want to ensure the goodwill and integrity that we have built up rolls on into 2020.”
Deutrom said: “We are deeply disappointed with the decision, however, fully empathise with the rationale that has led to the tournament’s postponement.
“The excitement and energy that the Euro T20 Slam had generated since it was announced has demonstrated a high level of interest amongst the Irish public in seeing world-class cricket hosted here in Ireland. We hope that that interest will carry on until 2020 when the Slam will finally get underway.
“We would like to acknowledge the enormous work that has gone into planning for the Slam behind the scenes – the clubs, the local councils, business partners and sponsors, and the many, many hours put in by staff in Cricket Ireland, Cricket Scotland and KNCB to support this undertaking. All of this groundwork is not in vain, as it will be the bedrock on which we support the event next year.
“We will continue to engage with the event organisers to ensure all commitments are met to their fullest extent, including any receivables owing to Cricket Ireland itself. We will additionally be seeking increased comfort that the organisers will be able to avoid a repeat of this year’s challenges in future editions.”
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