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Rediff.com  » Cricket » ICC looking to be permanent member of Olympic Movement: Greg Barclay

ICC looking to be permanent member of Olympic Movement: Greg Barclay

Source: PTI
October 16, 2023 17:27 IST
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IMAGE: Following cricket’s inclusion for the LA Olympics, Greg Barclay wants ICC to become a permanent member. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is looking to become a permanent member of the Olympic Movement following the inclusion of T20 cricket in the programme of 2028 Olympics, its chairman Greg Barclay said on Monday.

Cricket (men's and women's T20), along with four other sports of baseball/softball, lacrosse (sixes), squash and flag football, was on Monday officially added to the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics on the second day of the 141st IOC Session in Mumbai.

Barclay said cricket's inclusion in the 2028 LA Olympics programme will only be a start, hoping that the sport will remain a part of the future Games.

"It has been a long journey with a lot of hard work on the part of a number of people. It is a vindication of everything that they saw in their vision to get where we got today,” a visibly delighted Barclay told the media.

“It is the fastest growing format, already a dominant format which will be played at the Olympics,” he said.

 

The ICC is one of the international federations recognised by the IOC, having gained full Olympic recognition in 2009. It is a member of the Association of IOC Recognised International Sports Federations.

Barclay said that the ICC is looking to utilise the inclusion of cricket at the Olympics to reach the 'under-represented regions and countries'.

“That was also a part of our motivation, to use the world's biggest sporting stage to help further grow our sport. We are one of the fastest growing team sports in the world but we are under-represented in certain regions and countries, and this is an opportunity to address that,” he said.

The ICC chairman hoped that cricket will remain a part of the Olympic programme beyond 2028, given that Brisbane is the next venue in 2032 and India is planning to make a bid for hosting the 2036 edition.

“We do not want to see it as a one-off, we are looking to be a permanent member of the Olympic movement,” Barclay said.

Talking about the long process of getting cricket included in the Olympics, Barclay said, “We worked through to satisfy the LA (organising committee) and the IOC to admit cricket into the Olympics. Obviously, they have accepted our considerations and our position and here we are today, which is great.

“There were myriad issues that would be considered for any sport's inclusion in the Olympics, so in this case we were working through all of them,” he said.

“I am not going to highlight any one in particular, just pleased that we have been able to set aside (with) the IOC that we are a sport that was worthy of admission into the Olympic movement,” he added.

Asked if the rise of women's cricket in general and ensuring pay parity has also played a role in cricket getting the nod, Barclay said, “(I am) not privy to what exactly drove the decision making — I would like to think so.

"We are an inclusive sport, our ideals and values line up with the Olympic Movement. Hopefully there was consideration and it was taken into account.”

Barclay acknowledged that a few years ago not all members of the ICC were on the same page when it came to making efforts for cricket being included in the Olympic programme, but said that they have been able to sort out issues among themselves.

“There were issues that we needed to work through, that has been done. We have got 100 per cent support from all of our members and stakeholders. The journey has been pretty easy in terms of the ability to bring them behind us. Great outcome, I am really pleased for all of them,” he said.

“We were hopeful we would get there, we did not take anything for granted at all. It has been a long journey. It is a culmination of that journey but it is not the end of the growth of the game and taking the sport to the globe will continue,” he said.

Barclay said there's still a lot of time to figure out the qualification process for the teams ahead of the 2028 LA Games.

“We have got a few years to work through that yet so we have not addressed some of those issues, but we will,” he added.

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