LONDON, July 14 (Reuters) - The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has urged the sport’s ruling body to try to get the game’s Twenty20 international format into the Olympics.
Cricket has been played only once at a Summer Games, in Paris in 1900, but there have been growing calls to return the sport to the programme.
The MCC, founded in 1787 and the owner of the Lord’s ground where it is based, was formerly the governing body of world cricket and is the guardian of the laws of the game.
“The (MCC) committee is unanimous in its belief that every effort should be made to make cricket an Olympic sport, and urges all governing bodies around the world to get behind such a bid,” the MCC said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The Olympics is a fundamental opportunity for cricket -- in both the men’s and women’s game -- and with a global reach, such a presence would expose the game positively to new markets.”
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has been reluctant to push for the sport to be played in the Olympics.
“The committee urges the ICC Board to reconsider its position and take a decision that it believes is in the best interests of the global game,” the MCC said.
“This would need to be done in the next 12 months for cricket to have a chance of being included in the 2024 Olympics.”
The ICC confirmed last month that the number of teams taking part in the 2019 and 2023 50-over World Cups, the sport’s showpiece one-day tournament, would be cut from 14 to 10 countries.
The MCC believes the move could damage the potential growth of the sport in cricket’s developing nations.
“The organisation of a 10-team ICC Cricket World Cup for 2019 and 2023 is a retrograde step,” the MCC said.
“To limit future tournaments to 10 teams, albeit with qualification methods put in place, is a handbrake for the development of the sport.”
Twenty-six sports were on the programme at the 2012 London Summer Olympics and rugby sevens and golf will be played at next year’s Games in Rio. (Editing by Alan Baldwin)