'Cricket in 2024 Olympics if Rome wins hosting bid'

Rome: Italian cricket board president Simone Gambino has said the sport will be included in the 2024 Olympics if Rome wins the bid to host the quadrennial sports extravaganza.

Rome is one of the cities bidding to host the Olympics in 2024 -- alongside Paris, Los Angeles and Budapest -- and, under new regulations, will have the opportunity to add five sports to the games as they deem fit.

West Indies players pose with the ICC World T20 trophy after their win over England in the final. Pic/PTI

France Cricket is attempting to win a similar commitment from the Paris organising committee.

"If Rome hosts the Olympics, cricket will be included. We have had a firm commitment from the organising committee,” Gambino was quoted as saying by espncricinfo on Friday.

It is likely that if Rome does host the games, cricket would be held in Bologna. The city hosted World Cricket League Division four matches in 2010 and though the availability of turf pitches may be an issue, there would be time to overcome that should the bid be successful.

So, if only 12 teams were included, three might come from Europe, three from Asia, two from Africa, two or three from America and the Caribbean and two or three from the South Pacific area.

It could well be that some well-known cricket nations -- notably England, who are part of the Britain in Olympic terms -- miss out.

The news emerged as the International Cricket Council (ICC) continued its annual conference in Edinburgh recently.

The next ICC board meeting takes place in South Africa in October.

Which nations would be involved remains open to debate. There would probably be a maximum of 16 teams invited to take part, though there is a possibility of just 12, with Olympic regulations suggesting they will be spread across the globe.

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