MUMBAI: Cricket will feature as one of five new sports at the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, organisers announced Monday.
A vote of the International Olympic Committee’s session in Mumbai approved cricket, together with baseball/softball, flag football, squash and lacrosse.
The IOC’s executive board last week accepted a proposal by LA organisers for Twenty20 cricket, the sport’s shortest format, to be included along with the four other new events.
But the final choice still had to be voted on Monday at the IOC session in Mumbai, one of the global centres for cricket, as India hosts the men’s 50-over Cricket World Cup.
Los Angeles chiefs have proposed a six-team event, in both men’s and women’s T20 cricket.
The United States is set to field sides as the host nation, but no firm decision has been made on the number of teams, or how they will qualify.
Cricket last featured at the 1900 Paris Olympics, when a team from Britain beat a side representing France.
Adding cricket to the Olympic programme is an obvious move, financially speaking.
It would tap into the lucrative South Asian market, attracting fans in countries such as India and Pakistan.
The Indian Premier League, featuring cricket’s global stars, has helped India become the unquestioned economic driving force of the sport, thanks to legions of fans and lucrative broadcasting deals in a nation where the game is almost a religion.