IOC grants International Cricket Council initial recognition

Updated: December 11, 2007, 9:17 AM ET
Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Cricket took a first step toward what it hopes will be a return to the Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee granted the International Cricket Council initial recognition Monday. After two years, the ICC can seek full recognition and apply to be part of the Olympics, starting in 2020.

"This is great news for cricket," ICC president Ray Mali said Tuesday. "The Olympic movement is instantly recognizable around the world and for cricket to be a part of that again has to be a good thing."

Cricket is played mostly in Commonwealth countries and has been part of one Olympics -- the 1900 Paris Games. Britain won the gold medal, beating a French team made up of players from the British Embassy in Paris.

Mali and other ICC directors met with IOC president Jacques Rogge in October in Lausanne, Switzerland.

"We want to play an active role in the Olympic movement and we will be looking at ways in which we can work with the IOC for the benefit of cricket, sport and society in general," Mali said. "Maybe one day it will be right for cricket to return to the Olympic program."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press