IOC will decide if Afghanistan play in the Olympics – ICC CEO Allardice

IOC will decide if Afghanistan play in the Olympics - ICC CEO Allardice

Afghanistan’s participation in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics is in the hands of the International Olympic Council (IOC), not the ICC. This is the view expressed by ICC chief executive Geoff Allardice, who was responding to how cricket’s governing body will address the challenge of Afghan players being forced into exile since the Taliban took power in 2021.
In October, the IOC approved LA28’s recommendation to add T20 cricket as a new sport, convinced by its popularity in Commonwealth countries and among younger generations, along with the growth potential it brings in markets such as the United States.

In its proposal, the ICC had recommended a six-team event for both the men’s and women’s competitions which was approved by the IOC. By 2025, LA28 and ICC will work out a competition structure as well as how teams can qualify for the event.

LA28 organizers have emphasized gender equality at the Olympic Games, which typically feature both genders in individual and team sports. However, Afghanistan does not currently field a women’s cricket team, and 22 of the 25 contracted players have moved abroad since the Taliban takeover in August 2021. However, there remains a possibility that the team male participate in the event in five years. ‘ time.

“(In) the Olympic competitions the teams are presented by the national Olympic committees of those countries,” Allardice told the bbcPerplexed Podcast. “As an international sports federation, we positioned our sport with the LA28 organizers for inclusion. And the IOC and they (LA28) have included cricket. In terms of the position of the Afghanistan National Olympic Committee, it is probably something that the IOC should “We can tackle more precisely than I can. But I know that they (the IOC) have been following the progress or developments there. “Our position on cricket and supporting our member in Afghanistan is no different to other international sporting organisations.”

In its communication with the Taliban government, the IOC has been emphasizing that the country’s National Olympic Committee (NOC) will be in danger of being suspended if women’s access to sports continues to be restricted. The IOC has not authorized Afghanistan’s participation in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Speaking at the IOC session in Mumbai in October, James Macleod, head of Olympic Solidarity and IOC National Olympic Committee Relations, said there had been “a little bit of progress” that was evident at the recent Hangzhou Asian Games. . Of the 83 Afghan athletes, 17 were women. Although the men were the owners of the five medals, the female athletes, all residing abroad, competed in volleyball, athletics and cycling. They also had male and female flag bearers at the event.

IOC President Thomas Bach had noted at the Mumbai session that the onus was on the National Olympic Committee of Afghanistan to show the progress it was making to ensure that women cricketers were encouraged and supported to compete at all levels. . “In this broader context, cricket will ultimately be considered,” he said.

Afghanistan’s men participated in the gold medal match at the Asian Games in the absence of the women’s team. Allardice, who traveled to Hangzhou, said the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) had been committed to developing women’s cricket when it was granted full ICC membership in 2017.

“They were in the process of doing it through 2021,” Allardice said. “And in 2021, the country’s regime changed and introduced rules and laws that prohibit women from playing sports in the country. While we have spoken to the Afghanistan Cricket Board and their position is that they must operate within the laws of the country . country and the rules established by the government.”

An ICC working group, led by its vice-president Imran Khwaja, has been in contact with the Taliban government for the past year with the ultimate goal of helping women play cricket safely. “The question for the ICC board is: do we support our members in their ability to promote cricket within the rules set by the country’s government? And the view is yes,” Allardice said.

As a full member, the ACB receives significant funding. According to the ICC financial distribution model for the next cycle (2024-27), the ACB will receive approximately $16.8 million as part of commercial income. Allardice said boards of directors had autonomy to use the funds as they saw fit.

“How those members distribute those funds and the use of that money is largely up to those members. With any of our members, we have a check and balance on how that money is distributed and whether it goes toward certain contracts or others.” contracts. We do not stipulate how this should be managed.”