Cricket has taken the first step on the long road to inclusion in the Olympic programme by winning provisional recognition status from the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC said that cricket won recognition due to its youth-development programs.

The Olympic programme is determined seven years ahead of every Games. As cricket will not have spent the mandatory two-year provisional Olympic status by the time the 2008 Beijing Olympics are over, its case will be reviewed following the 2012 London Games. The earliest cricket could be seen at the Games is 2020.

International Cricket Council (ICC) President Ray Mali said, "This is great news for cricket. The Olympic Movement is instantly recognisable around the world and for cricket to be a part of that again has to be a good thing. The ICC and IOC share similar values, such as a spirit of fair play in a competitive but ultimately friendly environment.”

ICC President Ray Mali

Mr Mali along with ICC Directors David Morgan and Tunku Imran, met with IOC President Jacques Rogge in Lausanne in October 2007. Cricket last featured in the Olympic Games in 1900. It will be played at the Asian Games, a part of the Olympic movement, in 2010.

"We want to play an active role in the Olympic Movement and we will be looking at ways in which we can work with the IOC for the benefit of cricket, sport and society in general” said Mr. Mali.

Filed January 03 2008