CRICKET-OLYMPICS-TWENTY20:MCC recommends Twenty20 Olympic inclusion
LONDON (Reuters) - The MCC World Cricket committee has backed the inclusion of Twenty20 cricket in the Olympics but acknowledges it will take a great deal of effort for that to happen, the organisation's advisory body said on Wednesday.
Cricket would have to apply to be part of the Games and 2024 is the earliest possible date for its inclusion.
The committee, made up of current and former international players and umpires and which acts as a complementary body to International Cricket Council, meets twice yearly to discuss issues in the game.
"The MCC World Cricket committee appreciates that a great deal of effort may be needed to lobby for the inclusion of cricket in the Olympic Games of 2024," it said in a statement on the MCC website (www.lords.org).
"The committee accepts that, were cricket to be played in the Olympics, there would be a short-term loss in income for the ICC, and therefore for dispersion to its members, but is impressed with the potential boost for the game worldwide if cricket were to be included.
"Furthermore, the committee advocates Twenty20 cricket as the format to be played at the Olympics, thereby providing the 'pinnacle' of that form of the sport."
Cricket has only once appeared at the Olympics, in 1900, when a team from Britain played one from France.
Sports are currently battling for inclusion in the 2020 Games after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended wrestling be dropped from the programme.
The IOC's executive board will meet in St Petersburg in May to decide which of eight candidate sports, including wrestling, will be put forward to win the spot left vacant for the 2020 Games.
Martial arts karate and wushu, rollersports, wakeboarding, squash, sports climbing and a joint bid by baseball and softball are also seeking inclusion in the 2020 Olympics.
(Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Ed Osmond)