IOC approves return of cricket at 2028 Los Angeles Olympics

Men’s and women’s T20 tournaments are set to take place at the Games in five years’ time

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach plays cricket at an event in Mumbai on October 9, 2023.  FPA
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The 100-year Olympic exile looks set to come to an end with the sport set for a return at the 2028 Games.

On Friday, the International Olympic Committee's executive board approved cricket's inclusion for the Games being held in Los Angeles.

The final choice of which sports are on the 2028 programme will be decided on Monday at the IOC session in Mumbai.

Six-team men’s and women’s T20 tournaments are set to take place at the Games in five years’ time – with the United States set to field a side as host nation – and IOC president Thomas Bach is heavily supportive of the idea.

“This is a win-win situation,” he said at a press conference in Mumbai on Friday.

“The Olympic Games will give cricket a global stage and the opportunity to grow beyond the traditional cricket countries and regions.

“And for the Olympic Movement, it’s the opportunity to engage with fan and athlete communities to which so far we have very little or even no access.”

Bach insisted he did not have to twist the LA organisers’ arms to get cricket included, in spite of it being very much a minority sport still in the US.

“It did not take anything to convince them,” the German said. “The idea first came up in a dinner I shared with Casey Wasserman [chairman of LA 2028] at the athletics World Championships in Eugene last year.

“Casey saw already the great potential [of cricket] and was highlighting it himself. So there was not much work to do, if any.”

Cricket last featured at the 1900 Paris Olympics, when a team from Britain beat a side representing France. It was also the only match after the Netherlands and Belgium withdrew.

The sport has made moves towards a return to the Games for more than a decade, with the encouragement of the Olympic movement.

It would tap into the lucrative south Asian market, attracting fans in countries such as India and Pakistan. T20 cricket is the sport's shortest international format.

The Indian Premier League, featuring cricket's global stars, has helped the country become the economic driving force of the sport, thanks to the huge backing of fans and lucrative broadcasting deals in a nation where the game is almost a religion.

India is also currently hosting the 50-over World Cup where England are the defending champions.

Updated: October 13, 2023, 1:17 PM