Geoff Allardice, the Chief Executive Officer of the International Cricket Council (ICC), has clarified that the decision regarding Afghanistan’s involvement in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics will be made by the International Olympic Council (IOC), rather than the ICC.
This clarification is prompted by the challenges faced by Afghanistan’s female cricket players, forced into exile by the Taliban’s resurgence in 2021.
Although cricket received approval for inclusion in the LA28 Olympics in October, the ultimate verdict rests with the IOC. The inclusion of T20 cricket in the event, influenced by its popularity in Commonwealth nations and among younger audiences, has gained endorsement from the IOC. The proposed six-team format, encompassing both male and female competitions, has secured approval from the Olympic governing body.
Looking ahead to 2025, both the LA28 organisers and the ICC are collaborating to establish a competitive structure and qualifying process for the teams. The emphasis on gender equality in sports at LA28 aligns with the broader Olympic tradition of embracing men’s and women’s participation in various disciplines.
However, there are apprehensions about the future of Afghanistan’s women’s cricket team. Since the Taliban assumed control in August 2021, 22 out of 25 contracted players have sought refuge abroad, rendering the team non-operational. Conversely, there is still optimism for the male team’s participation in the 2028 event.
Geoff Allardice addressed the situation and stated that the position of the National Olympic Committee of Afghanistan will be addressed by the IOC, and they (IOC) have been monitoring the progress of the developments there.
“In terms of the position of the National Olympic Committee of Afghanistan, it’s probably something for the IOC to be able to address more accurately than me. But I know that they (IOC) have been following the progress or the developments there. Our position on cricket and supporting our members in Afghanistan is not dissimilar to those of other international sporting organizations,” Geoff said in an interview with BBC.
As the fate of Afghanistan’s participation in the Olympics remains uncertain, the decision now lies with the IOC, influencing the narrative for cricket’s role in the global sporting spectacle.