MCC claims progress in cricket’s Olympic ambitions

Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), owner of the Lord’s Ground in London and the sole authority on the Laws of Cricket, has said the International Cricket Council is stepping up plans for the sport to secure inclusion at the 2028 summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

The announcement came after the latest meeting of the MCC World Cricket Committee (WCC), at which newly-appointed ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney addressed the membership. The MCC has been at the forefront of efforts to secure cricket’s inclusion at major multi-sport events.

The meeting addressed the addition of women’s Twenty20 cricket to the programme for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, along with the sport’s proposed inclusion at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, and its ultimate Olympic ambitions.

A statement issued following the meeting read: “Cricket is also due to return to the Asian Games at Hangzhou 2022, likely again to be in T20 format. The WCC is excited to see cricket being introduced to, and gaining popularity in, new destinations. Including cricket at Hangzhou 2022 is the perfect opportunity to showcase the sport to the market in China.

“There is still much to be done if cricket is to be included in the Olympics, with Los Angeles 2028 the earliest likely opportunity and the ICC continuing to work internally to align cricket to pursue the sport’s Olympic ambitions.”

The ICC was recognised by the International Olympic Committee in 2010 but a concerted push to earn a place at the Olympics failed to materialise. Cricket made its solitary Olympic appearance at the Paris 1900 Games, but many have called for the sport to be considered for a return through the shorter Twenty20 format.

Speaking after the two-day meeting, WCC chairman Mike Gatting said Sawhney told the Committee that strong progress has been made in the game’s multi-sport event efforts. This was further boosted by last week’s news that the highly-influential Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had agreed that it’s anti-doping activities come under the auspices of the country’s National Anti-Doping Agency. The BCCI previously employed an outside agency for such work and needed to fall in line with globally-recognised standards.

“We were talking with Manu Sawhney the ICC chief exec, and he was very hopeful we can get cricket into the 2028 Olympics,” Gatting said, according to the ESPNcricinfo website. “That’s what they’re working towards at the moment and that would be a huge bonus for cricket worldwide, it would be fantastic.

“It’s two weeks, that’s a good thing about it, it’s not a month, so it’s one of those (events) where scheduling for two weeks should be fine once every four years once you do the first one. You’re going to have – one hopes – a four-year period, once you know you’ve been accepted into the Olympics, that gives you a chance to actually shape your two weeks, so it’s not as if it is butted into the schedule.

“I think the next 18 months will be very interesting as to how we do that. One of the problems has been negated, where the BCCI is now working with NADA, the drugs agency, which it wasn’t previously a part of. That will help a long way towards the sport being whole, which is what we need it to be to apply for the Olympics, both men and women to play and all countries to comply.”