Funding boost for Ireland and Scotland
Ireland and Scotland have been handed a financial boost by the ICC after being the first two Associate nations to receive a US$500,000 funding bonus.
The two countries will received the cash injection, which has come from the ICC's targeted assistance and performance programme (TAPP), for the next three years and it is part of the ICC's aim to develop greater competition below the Full Members.
Ireland have been the stand-out Associate in recent years with notable scalps at the last two World Cups by beating Pakistan in 2007 and England in 2011 and have recently stated an ambitious ten-year plan to become a Test nation.
Warren Deutrom, the Cricket Ireland chief executive, said: "We are delighted and grateful to ICC for this award which will help Cricket Ireland achieve their stated objectives. We shall be exploring in greater detail the award and terms of the grant with ICC management in order to ascertain how to prioritise the funding towards the proposals that we outlined in our applications."
Scotland intend to use the money to help line up more high-profile matches against the top international sides at both home and abroad.
Their chief executive Roddy Smith said: "We are obviously delighted by today's ICC board decisions. The additional support will enable us to enhance our national team programme over the next three years and support our young developing side in continuing their recent progress.
"Since 2009 we have been in the top three associate sides in 50-over and multi-day cricket and this fact along with our ambitious application has enabled us to be one of the first two members to be awarded TAPP funding. The hard work will start now in putting these additional plans into action."
Meanwhile, Scotland have also been successful in lobbying the ICC to give them permission to select players with Scottish parentage and by-pass a problem created by the lack of Scottish passports. The current situation is caused by the ICC's eligibility criteria being based on nationality as defined by birthplace or passport.
As Scotland does not issue its own passports, and the British passport is not accepted as it covers numerous ICC members, players who have Scottish born parents but were themselves born outside of Scotland were not eligible unless they moved to Scotland for a four year qualification period.
"The issue has been a prominent one for a number of years and we welcome the decision to allow players with Scottish parentage to be able to apply to the ICC for exceptional circumstances," Smith said. "As the Scottish passport does not exist, and parentage is not a recognised criterion, it has meant that many potential players who have one or both parents born in Scotland have been ineligible to play if they were born outside the country. Cricket was almost unique in Scottish sport by being unable to select such players."