talk­ing point ICC mulling bid for Olympic in­clu­sion in 2024

The National - News - Sport - - LEADING OFF -

The time is right for cricket to return to the Olympics and a de­ci­sion on ap­ply­ing for in­clu­sion in 2024 will have to be made within months, Dave Richardson said yes­ter­day.

Paris 1900

The founder of the mod­ern Olympics, French­man Pierre de Cou­bertin, was en­thu­si­as­tic about cricket, a sport dom­i­nated by Bri­tain and its then colonies such as Aus­tralia and In­dia, but it has only once fea­tured in a Games – at Paris in 1900.

De­ci­sion by July

“We need to make a de­ci­sion by, I guess, July of this year so that we can sub­mit an ap­pli­ca­tion by Septem­ber,” said Dave Richardson, chief executive of the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil (ICC). “And of course it’s not what cricket wants, its whether the IOC [In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee] wants us.”

Venue no is­sue

The IOC will choose be­tween ri­val 2024 bid cities Paris and Los An­ge­les at a meet­ing in Lima in Septem­ber, with new sports also un­der con­sid­er­a­tion. Richardson said it did not mat­ter which city won the bid. “Both would prob­a­bly be op­por­tunis­tic for us, es­pe­cially the US op­tion, but also in Europe,” he said. “You’d have to spend a lit­tle bit more money on cricket pitches in France than in the US, but it’s not im­pos­si­ble.”

Glob­al­is­ing game

“I think the majority of the mem­bers, and cer­tainly my­self, think the time is right,” said Richardson, adding that it should be played in the Twenty20 for­mat. “I think we’ve come to the con­clu­sion that the over­all ben­e­fit to the game of help­ing to glob­alise it and grow will out­weigh any neg­a­tives.”

Lim­ited num­ber of teams

The IOC has made clear that there are lim­i­ta­tions on ath­lete num­bers, which would mean a com­pe­ti­tion of six to eight na­tional sides at elite level. Sev­eral is­sues will need iron­ing out, such as clear­ing the cal­en­dar at a busy time of the cricket year.

AP Photo

If cricket is to be in­cluded on the Olympic pro­gramme, it will be in T20 for­mat.

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