ICC pushing for cricket’s inclusion at LA 2028 Olympics

Organisation establishes working group to bid on behalf of the sport.

10 August 2021 Ed Dixon
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  • Cricket last featured at the Olympics back in 1900
  • Olympic Working Group to be chaired by ECB’s Ian Watmore
  • ICC says there are 30m cricket fans in the US

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed it will push for cricket’s inclusion in future Olympic Games and wants the sport to appear at Los Angeles 2028.

Cricket’s global governing body said it had started preparations for a bid on behalf of the sport and assembled a working group to lead on the efforts.

Cricket has made just one appearance in the Olympics, way back in 1900 in Paris, with England and France the only two teams to compete.

The ICC believes LA 2028 is the ideal opportunity to end the sport’s 128-year absence from the Games, citing the 30 million cricket fans living in the US. Last October, USA Cricket confirmed it would also be campaigning for the game to be played at LA 2028.

Cricket is already set to feature at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, which the ICC believes is a ‘perfect showcase’ for what the sport can bring to the Olympics.

ICC chair Greg Barclay said the addition of cricket would be beneficial to both the sport and the Olympic Games themselves. 

“Our sport is united behind this bid, and we see the Olympics as a part of cricket’s long-term future. We have more than a billion fans globally and almost 90 per cent of them want to see cricket at the Olympics,” said Barclay.

“Clearly cricket has a strong and passionate fanbase, particularly in South Asia where 92 per cent of our fans come from whilst there are also 30 million cricket fans in the USA. The opportunity for those fans to see their heroes competing for an Olympic medal is tantalising.

“We believe cricket would be a great addition to the Olympic Games, but we know it won’t be easy to secure our inclusion as there are so many other great sports out there wanting to do the same. But we feel now is the time to put our best foot forward and show what a great partnership cricket and the Olympics are.” 

The ICC Olympic Working Group will be chaired by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chair Ian Watmore. He will be joined by ICC independent director Indra Nooyi, chair of Zimbabwe Cricket Tavengwa Mukuhlani, ICC associate member director and vice president of the Asian Cricket Council Mahinda Vallipuram, and chair of USA Cricket Parag Marathe.

There has been no confirmation about which cricket format is the preferred option for the Olympics.

Meanwhile, World Netball and Netball Australia have declared their intention to see netball included in the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games.

The move comes after the Australian city was confirmed as the host of the event in 11 years’ time.

Netball has never been a part of the Olympic programme, but has appeared at the Commonwealth Games since 1998.

Helping the sport’s cause is its popularity and success in Australia. The national team is currently top of the International Netball Federation (INF) world rankings and has won the World Cup more than any other nation. Netball is also played by more than 1.2 million people in Australia.