Members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are set to vote on whether to include T20 cricket as an official Olympic sport for the 2028 Games this Friday (8 September).
This comes following Friday’s IOC meeting on whether to include additional sports to the 2028 Games held in Los Angeles, which includes men’s and women’s T20 cricket amongst other potential sports.
One supporter of cricket’s involvement in the Olympic Games includes IOC President Thomas Bach due to the sports major popularity in cricket-dominant countries such as India and Pakistan, expected to drive further viewership to the Games from 2028 and beyond.
Whilst any green light to include cricket at the 2028 Games following Friday’s meeting will have to be ratified by the IOC’s next meeting in October in Mumbai, ‘LA28’ organisers have been reportedly willing to accommodate the sport.
Bach’s interest in making cricket an Olympic sport also stems from his belief that India should push for a bid to host the 2036 Games, with the country and many others having established popular cricket regimes, such as Great Britain, Australia and South Africa.
The IOC’s meeting in Mumbai next month is also hoping to garner the final seal of approval for cricket due to its immense popularity in India.
The preference to choose T20 cricket over traditional test cricket comes as T20’s format is significantly shorter and would be more appealing for younger audiences in particular to watch.
If successfully voted upon, the IOC is angling for a tournament format with two groups of four countries for both the mens’ and women’s, with the top two sides advancing to the semi-finals for the Games in Los Angeles.
Organisers of LA28 attended last year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England to watch the T20 cricket tournament. It featured eight women teams in a similar format to that proposed for the Los Angeles Games.
To further accommodate cricket athletes at LA28, organisers and the IOC reached an agreement to allow more than the athlete total of 10,500 by spreading the schedule and allowing time for the Games’ sports to conclude at different times.