Dubai:The Indian Cricket League's bid for official recognition was rejected on Saturday during a meeting of the International Cricket Council's executive board.
ICC president David Morgan and chief executive Haroon Lorgat said most board members supported the decision after a lengthy debate.
The ICL is a rival to the Indian Premier League Twenty20 competition and was started by Essel Group, owners of Zee Television _ one of the largest television networks in India _ and fronted by former India captain and all-rounder Kapil Dev. The league has been in operation for two seasons.
On Thursday, the ICL's backers threatened legal action against the ICC unless their tournament is granted official recognition.
"The board gave ICL's application careful consideration, including assessing it against the criteria within the ICC regulations for approving such events," Lorgat said. "There was a lengthy debate after which the board resolved that the application should be rejected by a vast majority."
The ICC considered a similar application by the ICL last year and asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which runs the IPL, to meet ICL officials in a bid to resolve conflicts between the rival leagues.
But discussions between BCCI and ICL officials broke down and the Indian cricket board maintained its stance that life bans on all Indian players participating in the rebel competition will be enforced.
The BCCI's firm opposition to the ICL had also led several other national cricket boards to impose bans on players who are contracted to the rebel league.
In Saturday's decision, the ICC stressed the "importance of protecting the fabric of the game" and added that it hoped to send a message to players that they "could not swap between official and unofficial cricket at will."
However, the ICC left it up to the individual boards to determine the sanction for any player returning from the ICL.
"Banning players is not the role of the ICC. That is the jurisdiction of the individual boards, who are responsible about issuing the playing contracts to them," Lorgat said.
The ICC also invited former England women's captain Clare Connor to join the ICC Cricket Committee as a representative of women's cricket. Connor represented England in 16 Tests and 93 One-Day Internationals, including three women's World Cups.