The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) has confirmed that it will be creating a new elite UAE T20 cricket league.

The tournament, which will be formally unveiled later this month, will take place over 24 days between December and January. It will be hosted in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah.

Five new franchises will be created to do battle for the inaugural UAE T20 title, with at least six current international stars expected to play for each team.

The squads of 16 will also include two emerging players from ICC full member countries, three players from ICC Associate Member nations, two junior players and three UAE cricketers.

It is these core developmental goals that the ECB hopes will make the tournament an attractive proposition to players and sponsors alike.

David East, CEO of the ECB, said: “Our firm aim is for this event to take the sport to all corners of the UAE and to develop cricket at a grassroots level initially in — Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah.

“This will not be just another T20 tournament, it will be a truly international festival of sport and the hottest cricket ticket in the UAE.”

The event has already received the support of six ICC Full Member nations – England & Wales, Ireland, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, New Zealand and the West Indies – and organizers are looking forward to receiving the support of the ICC Associate Member countries.

“We are confident that this new event will play a big role in growing the game, inspiring, promoting and developing the sport in order to add to the already world-leading UAE cricketing and sporting landscape,” said Zayed Abbas, ECB Board Member, and Official Spokesperson.

“No other T20 competition has been established with such an international outlook, offering fans the chance to watch players from so many nations, from the international stars of the game to the best up and coming young talent. These are goals and values that are really important to the ECB and so we are pleased to offer our full support.”

Dr. Nasim Ashraf, chairman of the UAE T20 league board of directors, former chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and ECB board member, added:  “Our intention is to build a new event that is here to stay, and one that occupies a niche position in the international cricket calendar.

“We are not looking to compete with other T20 leagues, we are looking to develop an international festival of cricket that exists first and foremost for the benefit of the players, and with a very specific goal of helping to develop new talent from around the world and grow the game in keeping with global best practices.

“Our players will be at the heart of the action, entertaining and playing the game to the limit, looking to make a name for themselves and a mark on the world of T20.

“The diversity of players that will compete in this new event will represent the great diversity of the UAE — players of all nationalities love playing and staying in the UAE, with a lifestyle beyond compare. This is a chance for them to come to a winter sports superhub and play 7-star cricket in a competition that will be world-class in its design, organization, management, quality, sound practices, compliance with rules and regulations, profile, innovation and fan experience.”