In more exciting cricket news for the Central Asian region, the Cricket Federation of Uzbekistan (CFU) has announced the formation of the first nationwide T20 tournament. Set to launch from August this year, the Uzbekistan Premier League tournament will feature six teams and will be held in partnership with ANFA Pharmaceuticals, one of the fastest-growing pharmaceutical companies in the country. It is understood that ANFA will provide the main sponsorship for the competition.
Since its formation in December 2019, the Federation has made rapid and impressive strides in developing cricket. The man at the helm of the movement is CEO Aziz Mihliev, who is of the belief that developing cricket in the country can open Uzbekistan up to new opportunities.
“Since cricket is a popular sport in many parts of the world, we also decided to develop this sport as we believe that our youth is very competent and have shown great results in different types of championships. Cricket can bring new opportunities, new insights, and new goals to our country”, Mihliev had opined in a previous chat with Emerging Cricket.
The six-team UPL builds on the momentum of the inaugural ANFA Tashkent T20 tournament held last year. It had full indigenous Uzbek participation and was played under the watchful eyes of the National Olympic Committee leadership, along with representatives of the Ministry of Physical Culture and Sports. The tournament also benefited from national news coverage.
The Federation is very optimistic about cricket’s prospects and the quick expansion to six teams reveals their ambitions of boosting the sport’s development by increasing participation nationally.
In a statement to Emerging Cricket, Mihliev described the formation of the tournament and his future plans.
“We have decided to organise the UPL in order to spread the word about Uzbek cricket. To let people in Uzbekistan and around the world know that we have exciting competitions and good, talented players. Besides, UPL will hopefully help us with attracting new sponsors for CFU. Currently, ANFA Pharmaceuticals is our general sponsor and has been supporting the CFU financially since the beginning of our operations.”
“Six teams from the six Uzbekistan regions will be competing with each other. We are planning to invite local and foreign television reporters to make a report on the UPL. So we have big aims for this event. Although we are not sure how many fans we will be able to gather in the stadium, taking into account the pandemic situation, we believe that this tournament will win us new fans.”
UPL will feature a total of 33 games structured as a double round robin group stage followed by knockout games. Confirmation of the final format and schedule will be made closer to the tournament launch date. Additional details are listed below.
Tournament Name: Uzbekistan Premier League
Format: Double Round Robin and Knockout (TBC closer to launch date)
Teams: Ferghana Rangers, Samarkand Warriors, Termiz Tigers, Tashkent Eagles, Khorazm Kings, Bukhara Defenders
Venue: Uzbek State University of Physical Culture and Sports Cricket Stadium, Tashkent
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