ICC moves U-19 Men’s World Cup from Sri Lanka to South Africa

ICC moves U-19 Men's World Cup from Sri Lanka to South Africa

The ICC Board of Directors on Tuesday decided to move the 2024 Men’s Under-19 World Cup from Sri Lanka to South Africa. The move, a unanimous decision by the board, was taken in the wake of the ICC recently provisionally suspending Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) due to extensive government interference in the board’s administration.

The development will have no immediate implications on the day-to-day functioning of cricket. ESPNcricinfo has learned that the ICC Board has agreed that the suspension will not affect cricket at all levels, including bilateral and domestic series and tournaments. As for the ICC’s annual financing, it would be controlled until the suspension is lifted.

In a press release, the ICC confirmed the move of the tournament to South Africa after hearing from the SLC. “After hearing representation from SLC, the ICC Board decided that Sri Lanka can continue to compete internationally in both bilateral cricket and ICC events after being recently suspended for breaching its obligations as a member, particularly the requirement of manage its affairs autonomously and without government interference.”

Shammi Silva, president of the SLC, had recently warned that the biennial tournament, scheduled for January 2024, was in danger of being moved out of the country unless the ICC was satisfied that the Sri Lankan government was not interfering in the operation. of the board, which goes against the ICC constitution. . The SLC and the country’s sports minister, Roshan Ranasinghe, have been in conflict for the past year, with Ranasinghe making allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the cricket board, while Silva and the SLC accuse him of meddling in cricket.

Silva also notified the ICC in November 2022 about government interference that forced the ICC Board to ask its vice president Imran Khawaja to travel to Sri Lanka to establish the facts.

Four shortlisted cities

South Africa has been a favorite to host Under-19 World Cup events recently. The country hosted the inaugural U-19 Women’s World Cup in 2023 and the U-19 Men’s World Cup also in 2020.

The 16-team tournament, originally scheduled for January 13 to February 4 in Sri Lanka, is likely to be played around the same window. The venues for the 2024 edition are likely to be Benoni, Potchefstroom, Kimberley and Bloemfontein. It is understood that South Africa and the United Arab Emirates were among the short list of places the ICC had planned as contingencies in case he had to be transferred out of Sri Lanka. However, the UAE had to be ruled out as the ILT20 coincided with the World Cup.

The top 11 full member teams from the 2022 edition have qualified directly, and five teams (Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Scotland and USA) have earned their places through regional qualification events. The 2024 edition will also be played in a new format: the ‘Super Sixes’ will have a new segment during the second stage of the event.

India, with five titles, is the most successful team in the history of the competition, followed by Australia with three. Pakistan has won twice and England, Bangladesh, South Africa and the West Indies have each lifted the crown once. For South African fans, the tournament now coincides with the SA20 franchise competition taking place from January 10 to February 10.

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo