T20 franchise St Lucia Stars have been removed from the Caribbean Premier League after the tournament organisers terminated their agreement with the side’s owners, Royal Sports Club, LLC.
The organisers are expected to find a replacement franchise based out of St Lucia for the upcoming edition of the CPL, set to begin in September.
The decision, announced through a statement by the CPL, is understood to have been made primarily due to outstanding payments on behalf of the franchise, according to ESPNcricinfo.
“On August 7 2019, CPL Limited terminated the participation agreement between it and Royal Sports Club, LLC, the entity that operated the St Lucia Stars franchise,” the statement read.
“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 September 4, 2019.”
Jay Pandya, owner of the The Royal Sports Club, an American business company based in Philadelphia, sought to respond to CPL’s decision via a statement to ESPNcricinfo.
“We completely disagree with the CPL press release and will be working to address any issues the CPL may have in an appropriate manner and forum,” Pandya said.
One of the six teams from the inaugural edition in 2013, the franchise’s best performance came in 2016, when they finished fourth after losing to Trinbago Knight Riders in the eliminator. Last year, they finished fifth on the points table in the six-team tournament.
Initially named the St Lucia Zouks, the franchise was rechristened St Lucia Stars ahead of the 2017 season. For the 2019 edition, the side had acquired the services of Lasith Malinga and Fawad Alam in the player drafts held in May.
The decision on a new St Lucia-based franchise is expected to be taken by the CPL soon.
“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 added. “More information about that new franchise will follow in due course.”