Colombo Kings, Dambulla Viiking have contracts terminated, withdraw from LPL 2021

Dambulla Viiking's Anwar Ali celebrates a wicket with his team-mates AFP/Getty Images

Two franchisees have had their contracts terminated ahead of the second edition of the Lanka Premier League (LPL), but the tournament's director says two other franchises have been lined up to replace them.*

The IPG group, who organises the tournament for SLC, has said it has dropped the Colombo Kings and Dambulla Viiking sides for breach of contract. Ravin Wickramaratne, the SLC vice-president in charge of the LPL, told ESPNcricinfo that this will not change the board's plans for the tournament, however. It is currently slated to run from July 30 to August 22.

In the first edition of the five-team tournament, the Dambulla Viiking, who had made the semi-finals after finishing second on the table in the league stage, were owned by Sachiin Joshi and Viiking Ventures, while the Colombo Kings, also a semi-finalist, were owned by Murfad Mustafa and Faza group.

"Those two franchises (Kings and Viiking) have [been] terminated, but I've received other potential franchisees, whose details have been sent to the ICC for them to check," Wickramaratne said. The ICC vets franchise owners as part of their anti-corruption procedure. "I can't reveal who the owners of those teams are yet, but the other three team owners (of Galle Gladiators, Kandy Tuskers , and Jaffna Stallions) are still there."

Wickramaratne also confirmed that the 2021 edition will have five teams, though there were rumblings of a sixth team entering the fray.

As with the first edition, the entire tournament is scheduled to be played at Sooriyawewa (Hambantota) to make a biosecure bubble easier to maintain.

*This story originally stated that the teams had pulled out, but the tournament's organisers say it is they who have let go of the teams.