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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 December 2007, 13:23 GMT
Cricket handed Olympic lifeline
Olympic flag
Cricket has moved a step closer to returning to the Olympic Games after the International Olympic Committee provisionally recognised the sport.

It has been brought back into the Olympic movement for the first time since the Paris Games of 1900.

However, the earliest cricket could feature would be in 2020.

"Maybe one day it will be right for cricket to return to the Olympic programme," said International Cricket Council president Ray Mali.

"This is great news for cricket, the Olympic movement is instantly recognisable around the world and for cricket to be a part of that again has to be a good thing.

"Our goal has been to become an international federation that is recognised by the IOC and we are pleased to have achieved this target.


"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."

The provisional status is for an initial two-year period, after which sports bodies can seek full recognition and apply for inclusion in the Olympics.

If given full status in two years time, cricket would then be able to be considered for a place at the Games when the IOC review the programme for 2020 after the 2012 Olympics in London.

"The important thing is that this is the first step for the federation to be able to apply for inclusion into the Olympic programme," said an IOC spokeswoman.

The England and Wales Cricket Board began a campaign three years ago to have Twenty20 cricket included in future Olympics, prior to London being awarded the 2012 Games.

The last time cricket was last part of the Olympics, Great Britain beat France to take the gold medal.

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