Any cricket connoisseur will tell you about the first probable reference to cricket: the wardrobe accounts of Edward I in the early 1300s mentioning the Prince playing the game of creaget.

European Cricket League - The Promised Land of Cricket in Europe

Any cricket connoisseur will tell you about the first probable reference to cricket: the wardrobe accounts of Edward I in the early 1300s mentioning the Prince playing the game of creaget.

But, did you know that the first definite reference to cricket goes to Northeastern France, where a 1478 document mentioned the activity of “criquet.”

At the nigh end of the eighteenth century, the British Ambassador in Paris arranged for the Empire’s first overseas tour. However, at the point of embarkation to France in 1789, the European country was taken over by the Revolution.

And so, Europe was there to embrace cricket, when cricket itself wasn’t sure about its existence.

I am Daniel Weston - an Aussie-born German Wicket-keeper Batsman who wants to make cricket Europe's biggest summer team sport.

Earlier in April, I had a chance to appear on the BBC stumped podcast. Here’s what I discussed:

They say real change starts at home. I gave up my career as a Hedge Fund manager to launch the European Cricket League.

My vision is to create the Champions League of cricket in Europe

It will feature 8 champion clubs from domestic leagues in Europe, and it launches in Spain in July 2019. The starting participants are Denmark, France, Romania, Spain, Russia, Italy, Germany, and The Netherlands.

Cricket in Germany

I started German Cricket TV as a passion project in Germany to promote and create awareness about the game in the country. As soon as I began to live-stream cricket around Germany, the number of people who would want to watch was just unbelievable. The more content we uploaded, the more teams and clubs popped up all around.

Today, and in the past few years, the demographics are shifting to bring more cricketers to Europe, who originally come from cricket loving countries, and the advances in live-streaming technology are ensuring the rapid growth of the game due to the promotion and awareness that comes with the media.

There is a general misperception that the European Cricket League is primarily aimed at the expatriates in Germany.

I am taking a very long-term approach, and firmly believe that cricket has the potential to be massive in Europe in the next twenty years. The reason being is not the cricketers in Europe today, but the ones who will be born to cricket loving parents in the years starting now.

I must also tell the readers that cricket was widely popular in Europe in the late 19th and early 20th century with many professional clubs actively playing the game. In fact, the most famous of them, the Milan Cricket and Football Club, was the precursor of A.C. Milan.

During the ‘90s, the game revived itself in Europe with the formation of the European Cricket Council. Today, the opportunities are endless because there are so many who love the game in the third-most-populous continent of the world.

My idea is to create a club-focused Champions League that will attract the young ones of the expat-members of the clubs. Therefore, when a kid starts visiting a club at the age of 5, he/she will acquire skills to play for the next 25 years. World class cricketers can not be formed if they pick up a bat in their late teens or earlier twenties, world class cricketing skills have to be developed in children in their first five years of life. So we are European cricket lovers need to create an environment where young children are attracted to pick up a bat and ball at an early age.

Currently, there is close to 100% of children in Europe who would kick a football before the age of 5. It is an audacious task that we all have to get behind, but we want to create a community culture where there are footballs being kicked and balls being hit by our kids for cricket to work in the long run!

The European Cricket League Foundation

My partners for the foundation of the ECL are the same professionals who were behind the foundation of the 1992-93 launch of the modern-day UEFA Champions League. Therefore, we have experience and nous on our side. Moreover, we have decided to keep the ECL to 8 countries divided into two groups of four teams.

Nice. Clean. Simple!

Our objective is to get our League right from the onset rather than expanding prematurely. Then we would like to grow to be able to have all of Europe involved.

The Quintessential European Cricket Circuit

We have our sights set on plans to include other European countries, after we have proven to ourselves, and the world that we have a world-class product ready for expansion.

In the future, we would love to see all European cricket nations as part of our league.

The ECL will be Live Streamed on European Cricket Network “ECN”

We will be live-streaming all the games (July 29 - 31) on our own OTT platform ECN, which will be launched in May 2019.

The most significant aspect for us is to get our league on the mainstream European Television. In this regard, formal discussions are going on with the free-to-air broadcasters across Europe because, yes it’s fun to have more cricket for the cricket world, but I firmly believe that the game must also be seen by the locals.

For instance, local competition being shown on the local networks, in Spain, Italy, France and Germany for example.

Of course, the gift of the internet is allowing us to live-stream cricket on our own channels as of now, but going mainstream will really boost our endeavors.

The prize money for the tournament in 2019, dubbed “ECL19” – The Champions League of Cricket in Europe is Euro 20,000. We envision to transform these humble beginnings in the years to come!

Everybody knows how grand is IPL, and in the space of a decade, it has become the prima donna of global T20 opera. My ambition is to make something as wonderful and spectacular with more originality and relatability. The stories of the people playing cricket in Europe are worth listening to, and we need to use cricket as the entry to tell the story.

Contrary to popular belief that you need big names to add wheels to your cricket league, I am a firm believer of strengthening the grassroots.

It’s because, as a cricket fan, I am sick and tired of watching the same commercial players playing T20 leagues across the globe. In fact, I am not so sure that the players are so concerned about their franchise teams outcome. Their primary concern is to keep injuries at bay while maintaining numbers sufficient enough to keep the contract-dice rolling. That may be harsh to say, but I want to create something different;

I want to see Viv Richards versus Lillee-esque style of confrontation! Like the good old days! Where raw skill, passion and emotion was at the center of the story, not the Instagram celebrity of today!

I want to see guys that really want to win - Allan *Captain Grumpy* Border spirit, anyone?

We all know about European football fans, and I want to inject that type of fierce soul of European Football culture into the European Cricket League.

Anyone familiar with the European football scene will tell you that people would do anything for their football club. In the same spirit, I want to create an environment where people would do anything for their cricket clubs. This strong association will unearth a lot of raw talent because the clubs will be hungry to win.

As of 2019, the European Cricket League is a men’s competition, but I definitely want, and envision to include womens cricket as part of the ECL in the future, which, of course, will rely on clubs in Europe to establish firmly rooted women teams first. I have seen womens cricket grow so impressively in the developed cricket markets in recent years, and I can sense that European women that have played field hockey or tennis have the fundamentals to hit a long cricket ball. The potential is there, every way we look at the sport, if we just take a risk and have a plan.

To conclude, it is all about the confrontation of two people locking proverbial horns to win the day that people want to watch. I want to build something we in Europe can be proud of, and that the world can see the spirit of European cricket unfold before our eyes.

This is an old sport about to be made new again.

I am Daniel Weston, founder of the European Cricket League, signing out with the commitment to create the Promise Land of Cricket in Europe.