Don’t want to see cricket’s inclusion in Olympics as a one-off, says ICC chairman Greg Barclay

Mumbai:  Having witnessed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) give a final nod for the inclusion of cricket as an additional sport in the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 2028, Greg Barclay, Chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) said he does not want to see it as a one-off.

The 141st Session of IOC gave its nod for the inclusion of cricket, squash, flag football, baseball softball and lacrosse as additional sports in Los Angeles in its meeting, here on Monday.

“We do not want to see it as a one-off, we are looking to be a permanent member of the Olympic movement,” Barkley told the media in an interaction in the mixed zone at the Jio World Centre here.

With Brisbane set to host the Olympic Games in 2032 after Los Angeles, there is a feeling the Australian organisers may also propose it as an additional sport considering the sport’s popularity in the country.

Considering the potential for cricket’s growth, Barclay said they were hoping to get a permanent position in the Olympics sports programme, which may not be so easy considering there are already so many sports angling for permanent status on the programme.

Barclay said they were happy to get this opportunity.

“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,” he said.

Barclay said they want to use the Olympic platform to take cricket to a wider audience.

“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,” the sports administrator from New Zealand said.

Barclay said he did not want to highlight any particular aspect of the game that swung the vote in cricket’s favour.

“I am not going to highlight any 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 said.

“(I am) not privy to what exactly drove the decision making — I would like to think so. We are an inclusive sport, and our ideals and values line up with the Olympic Movement. Hopefully, there was consideration and it was taken into account.”

“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.

Asked how things changed in ICC in favour of cricket’s inclusion in the Olympics, a move that had faced a lot of opposition from its members a few years ago, Barclay said there was unanimous support for the proposal this time.

With cricket becoming part of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the Asian Games in Hangzhou, this seemed a natural progression as the IOC members were convinced that the T20 format fit the Olympic Games programme.

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