Cricket’s chances of making it to the Olympics could be affected by golf’s withdrawals, says Dave Richardson

Prince Singh / 15 July 2016

International Cricket Council chief executive Dave Richardson has admitted that the decision of world’s top golfers to withdraw from the Rio Olympics might affect cricket’s chances of making it to the Olympics.

Fears over the Zika virus has made the premier golfers of the world skip the upcoming Olympics Games. The Olympics committee has already made it clear that cricket’s inclusion in the Olympics is dependent on the availability of big players and major teams.

But there is a possibility that the Olympics might clash with any big T20 league and it is highly unlikely that the player will miss the lucrative league for Olympics.

“The IOC made it clear from the start that if we want to persuade them (to include cricket) they want the top teams and the top athletes. I think this experience with golf might have made it even harder for us to get in, because we will have to convince them our top teams and players will be there,” he said.

“They are quite keen for cricket to be involved but it must be treated seriously and not Under-23s or a format of the game that is not taken seriously. Twenty20 is the format they are talking about, men and women, and fewer teams than you might imagine. There’s not much space for more than eight teams.”

Speculations of cricket being included in the Olympics became rife when one of the bidding cities of 2024 Olympics, Rome, told the ICC they will include cricket.
“The argument for (joining the Olympics) is that is that even though US or China might not participate, they will still see the game being played on television,” said Richardson.

“The people against it say that is not a given, and another World T20 would attract more supporters. As I understand it the (Olympic) funding is not based on sending a team but if it is an Olympic sport. All teams would be involved in qualifying, we would have regional qualifiers.”