— Published 4 September 2023

Thomas Bach claims to be a cricket fan

Unexpected. As a candidate to be included in the program for the Los Angeles Games in 2028, cricket could count on an important ally: Thomas Bach. Interviewed by the American channel CNBC-TV18 (photo above), the IOC President admitted that he would welcome the sport’s return to the Olympic Games. Asked whether a cricket presence at the Games would make sense, the German leader replied in the affirmative. He also explained that he had had the opportunity to try his hand at the sport during a visit to Fiji last year, on the occasion of the general assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Oceania. “It could make sense, suggested Thomas Bach. I can’t hide it, I’m a real cricket fan, I even played once, in Fiji. We were walking through a sports ground. Some women were playing cricket. My spokesman, who is an avid cricket fan, came over and said, “Now you’ve got to play”. So we went to see this women’s cricket team. And they allowed me to play with them for a few moments.” In the same interview, the IOC President confirmed that the Executive Board would decide on the additional sports for the Los Angeles 2028 Games at its next meeting, on Friday September 8, before submitting its choice for validation at the October session (15 to 17) in Mumbai. But Thomas Bach made it clear that it was up to the LA 2028 organizing committee to submit its list. “Now it’s up to the Los Angeles organizing committee to make a proposal, he continued. But I think you can imagine, from my answers, what my position would be in the face of such a request.” Finally, Thomas Bach specified that only one format would be possible in the event of cricket being integrated into the Olympic program: the T20, the shortest and fastest version, where each team has a single series of twenty pitches to score.