The sport of cricket is expected to return to the Olympics. The event, which first appeared at the Olympic Games in 1900 in Paris, is set to return in LA28, more than 128 years after its first appearance. The International Cricket Council (ICC), which has been assiduously pursuing Olympic inclusion for the past few years, considers the Olympic berth to be a big accomplishment.
This is a follow-up to the official proposal the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games made to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for possible inclusion in the 2028 Olympic sports program, which included cricket in the Twenty20 format, along with baseball/softball, flag football, lacrosse (sixes), and squash. It is anticipated that the official clearance will be given during the IOC session in Mumbai the following week.
The LA28 ruling was quickly embraced by the ICC. “The International Cricket Council (ICC) is delighted at the decision of the organizers of the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics to recommend cricket for inclusion at the Games” according to a statement issued by the ICC on Monday.
Greg Barclay, the chairman of the International Cricket Council, stated: “We are thrilled that LA28 has proposed cricket for participation in the Olympics. Even if this isn’t the final decision, it’s a big step towards cricket’s return to the Olympics after more than a century. I’d like to thank LA28 for their support over the last two years during the new sports review process. We are eagerly anticipating the final decision being made at the IOC Session, which will be held in India during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup the following week.
Economic factors are primarily responsible for cricket’s inclusion. For financial gain, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has attempted to take advantage of the sport’s enormous popularity across the subcontinent, particularly in India. A UK media article states that the media rights worth of the Olympic Games is now at $16 million for one edition, but if cricket is added, this amount may rise to $200 million. A duel between India and Pakistan for the gold medal has the potential to draw more than a billion spectators, a level of interest uncommon in many Olympic sports.
“In building the Olympic sports program, we were willing to challenge the status quo and think differently about what’s possible for the Games in Los Angeles,” stated Kathy Carter, CEO of LA28. “We took a holistic and genuine approach to the process, making sure that our choices were based on the commitment of the Games to financial responsibility. And we’ve come up with a daring, well-rounded idea that will give the Games a culturally relevant competition and limitless potential.
Following the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) formal approval a few years ago, the inclusion of cricket in the Olympic program may now become a reality. The decision to accept the inclusion was made at a special general meeting called by Jay Shah.
The BCCI has historically had mixed feelings about competing in the Olympics for a number of reasons. First of all, it has been hesitant to join the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) as a member. The second, and possibly more important reason, was that it was concerned about possible financial losses should cricket be played at the quadrennial Games.