The International Cricket Council is working on a bid to get cricket added to the Olympics and is targeting the 2028 Los Angeles Games for its inclusion, the sport's governing body said on Tuesday.
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chair Ian Watmore will head the ICC Olympic Working Group, which has been created to lead the sport's bid. Watmore 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 Paraag Marathe.
“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," Barclay said.
“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 could be.”
The Tokyo Games, which concluded on Sunday, featured a number of new Olympic sports, including skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing, and karate - all of which proved to be huge hits with spectators.
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The International Olympic Committee has 35 different criteria, across five themes, that sports must meet to be considered for inclusion. Among the many factors include how much value the sport can add to the "Olympic Movement", the sport's popularity in the host country and in terms of broadcast coverage, and "institutional matters" including how long the sport has existed and its anti-doping measures.
With cricket's burgeoning popularity in the United States, the ICC are hopeful that LA 2028 will be the ideal opportunity to showcase the sport on the Olympic stage.
“USA Cricket is thrilled to be able to support cricket’s bid for inclusion in the Olympics, the timing of which aligns perfectly with our continuing plans to develop the sport in the USA," Marathe said.
"With so many passionate cricket fans and players already in the USA, and a huge global audience and following for the sport around the world, we believe that cricket’s inclusion will add great value to the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games and help us to achieve our own vision for establishing cricket as a mainstream sport in this country.”