Cricket will feature as one of five new sports at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, 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 organisers for Twenty20 cricket, the sport’s shortest format, to be included along with the four other new events at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
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 cricket event in Olympics, 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.
Meanwhile, Major League Cricket, a professional Twenty20 League, launched in the United States in July.
“It’s a win-win situation,” International Cricket Council chairman Greg Barclay told reporters in Mumbai of cricket’s inclusion in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
“It’s a massive day for cricket,” the New Zealander added.
“We’ve got global sport, what I think is the fastest-growing global sport, but getting onto the biggest sporting stage in the world, the Olympics, is a massive shot in the arm for the game.”
But the IOC said Monday the status of boxing at the 2028 Games remains “on hold” after it stripped the International Boxing Association (IBA) of its recognition following a dispute over how the sport is governed.
Boxing has been part of every Olympics since 1920 and will feature at next year’s Paris Games.
But in June, the IBA was effectively expelled from the Olympic movement following a bitter dispute between Games chiefs and its Russian president, Umar Kremlev.
That move came following concerns over the credibility of IBA-sanctioned tournaments, as well as the boxing governing body’s finances and governance.