Two Irish franchise teams will feature in a new European Twenty20 cricket league.
A 10-year deal has been made for the new six-team competition, which will also include sides from the Netherlands and Scotland.
The Irish franchises are planned to be based in Belfast and Dublin.
The league will run for under a month, from August 30 to September 22 this year, with each team playing five games, before semi-finals and a final take place. It's promised that the tournament will be broadcast to cricket markets globally.
Each franchise will have a cap on the number of international players they're allowed in their squad (seven) and on their team in each match (five). That means each team must include at least nine domestic players in their squad, and six on their starting teams.
“We are very excited that what has essentially been an 18-month project in planning is across the line,” said Warren Deutrom, Chief Executive of Cricket Ireland, in a statement.
“The quality and competitive performances in white-ball cricket played by the three nations involved has been on full display over recent years, and we saw a joint competition as the best means of ensuring that there would be high-quality cricket for the players and fans to enjoy.
“The global rise of T20 franchise cricket is a phenomenon within our sport, and there is no secret that Ireland’s performances at this format of the game have not been where we have wanted over the last few years.
“That, for us, was one of the prime motivators for such a competition – to provide greater opportunities for Irish players to play top quality T20 cricket. The ability to play alongside a range of experienced international cricketers will only benefit both the established and emerging Irish talent that will be involved over the next decade.”
There will also be opportunities for local umpires to officiate in the competition.
The tournament has been developed in consultation with the International Cricket Council, and event and funding partners GS Holding Inc. and Woods Entertainment.