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July 6, 2009
Vanuatu have been elevated to Associate membership of the ICC. The decision, which was confirmed at the recent ICC annual conference at Lord's, was based on the recommendations of the council's Associate and Affiliate members and the ICC Board.
The island nation from the ICC's East-Asia Pacific (EAP) region had applied for Associate status in 2008 and was required to meet the outstanding playing standard criterion for promotion. The standard involved securing at least one victory and being highly competitive in another fixture against a top 20 Associate team and they fulfilled that requirement by beating Fiji twice in a three-match series in May this year.
One of the privileges of becoming an Associate Member is additional funding which will help Vanuatu promote cricket better in the region.
Despite having a limited land base, Vanuatu have 18 grounds that have been used in competition in the past 12 months and also boast substantial under-age competition with 113 junior boys' and 44 junior girls' teams.
And last month the Vanuatu Under-19 men's team beat their Associate equivalents from Fiji and Japan to reach the global qualifying event for next year's U-19 World Cup.
The elevation of Vanuatu lifts it to the second tier of ICC membership and they become the 35th Associate Member of the game's global governing body. The ICC also has 10 Full Members and now 59 Affiliates.
ICC president David Morgan said: "I am delighted to welcome Vanuatu to Associate membership of the ICC. "It has clearly demonstrated that within its constituency cricket has made the leap from simply existing to becoming firmly established, organised and growing.
"The hard work of those involved with Vanuatu Cricket has already borne fruit with significant levels of participation at junior level among girls and boys and impressive performances by the senior men's team, illustrated by its victories over Fiji in May."
Vanuatu's application for Associate membership was supported by the EAP's two ICC Full Members, Australia and New Zealand, and they become the fourth Associate Member in the region alongside Fiji, Japan and Papua New Guinea.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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