IPL vs EPL. CLT20 vs UEFA Champions League. That's the comparison young generation of India is laughing about. A country where cricket is considered a religion and cricketers demi-Gods, we have a situation where tournaments are being conceptualized to match the popularity of football. But it's a far-fetched thought.
Cricket tournaments like the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) have been introduced thinking they can match the success rate of EPL and the UEFA Champions League. But the idea has failed miserably.
The IPL is cricket's answer to Premier League football, the suspended IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi had said in an interview. But after five seasons of the IPL and three of the CLT20, empty stadia, falling TRPs and cricket overkill is the outcome, rendering it as just a short-cut to quick money.
CLT20 has been conceptualized to match its football version, but it has failed miserably.
The biggest reason why football leagues are way ahead of their clones in cricket is the scheduling. On one hand we see IPL being played continuously for two months, which not only takes a toll on players but also fails to sustain the fans interest over a duration, and on the other football has a proper scheduling of the games, that runs across 10 months with breaks for national duty in between. Moreover, matches are organised mostly on the weekends, giving fans ample opportunities to throng the stadium or tune into their TV sets at home, but in IPL, overdose kills any such excitement.
Talking about the ongoing CLT20, which has gone downhill since its inception, almost everything in CLT20 involves India. From sponsors, venue, advertising, teams and players, everything banks on India, which you will never see in Champions League football. One club has never dominated the biggest football league in Europe. And that tells you about the level of competitiveness in football and the lack of it in cricket when it comes to the Champions League.
In cricket, out of ten teams this time, four are from India, two from Australia and two from South Africa - the three boards organising the event. That leaves the other eight ICC Full Members to fight out for two spots, which this time have gone to New Zealand's Auckland Aces and England's Yorkshire.
In cricket, the competition is generally between four to five sides. But football tells a different story. Thirty-two nations participate in the Champions League and often teams like Lyon, FC Porto and Schalke end up surprising people, creating drama and excitement that follows when something unexpected usually happens.
Another odd thing with cricket is that players are allowed to play for more than one club, which is, simply put, ridiculous. It's down to players to decide which team he will play and then their home team is paid a handsome amount (US $150,000) to allow them to play for their IPL franchise. But in football, you will never see such things happening. A footballer can only play for one team at a time unless he has been transferred or sold to the other club.
Such glaring comparisons don't leave any scope for comparison between the two versions of the Champions League. It isn't going anywhere in cricket.