GROS ISLET, St Lucia, CMC – Controversy rocked the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) after organizers tossed St Lucia Stars from the tournament, just three weeks before the start.
While giving no reason for the move, CPL said in a statement it had last Wednesday (August 7) “terminated the participation agreement” with the company which operated the Stars and stressed the entity “no longer has the right” to manage a franchise in the tournament.
The release said, “As a result of that termination, Royal Sports Club, LLC no longer has the right to operate a team to compete in the Caribbean Premier League tournament, and the St Lucia Stars will not be participating in the 2019 Caribbean Premier League, which begins on 4 September 2019.”
With the tournament set to bowl off shortly, organizers said they were already setting up a new franchise, the details of which would be announced shortly.
“CPL Limited is in the process of establishing and operating a new franchise to be based in St Lucia that will participate in the 2019 Caribbean Premier League,” the statement continued.
“More information about that new franchise will follow in due course. CPL Limited will be making no further public comment at this time.”
The Philadelphia-based Royal Sports Club, headed by Jay Pandya, was announced as owners of the St. Lucia franchise three years ago in what CPL at the time hailed as a “landmark day” for the operations.
Then known as St Lucia Zouks, the franchise name was changed to St Lucia Stars the following year, and they subsequently ensured a nightmare winless campaign losing nine of their 10 matches.
Popular national figure and two-time T20 World Cup-winning skipper, Darren Sammy, was sacked as captain that season and last year, Kieron Pollard left Barbados Tridents to lead the franchise.
With Pollard departing for his native Trinbago Knight Riders for the upcoming season, Sammy was expected to lead the Stars again.