Cricket will return to the Olympic programme at the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles, after the IOC Session in Mumbai approved the move on Monday, with just two votes against it.
Cricket, seen as the world’s most popular sport after football because of India, will be joined in LA by baseball/softball, lacrosse, flag football and squash as additional sports.
Olympic organisers want to capitalize on India’s obsession with cricket given the most populous country on Earth is an increasingly attractive market for the International Olympic Committee.
The IOC executive board had recommended its inclusion. India even plans to bid for the 2036 Games.
Cricket was only previously held at the Olympics in 1900 in Paris. A tournament for women and men using the shorter version of the game (Twenty20) is planned for Los Angeles.
Lacrosse was on the programme of the Summer Games in 1904 and 1908 and is returning given its North American heritage, just like baseball and the women’s variant of softball.
They have been included several times, most recently at the Tokyo Games in 2021.
Flag football, a non-contact version of American football will fittingly be played at the Olympics for the first time in LA while squash is also making its debut after years of lobbying.
With the addition of four team sports plus squash, the number of participants in Los Angeles is expected to rise to more than 11,000.
Previously, 10,500 athletes were considered the maximum at Summer Games. The next Games are in Paris next July and August.
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