Ireland news April 9, 2011

Irish Government offers support

ESPNcricinfo staff

The Irish Government has offered its support to Cricket Ireland as they consider how to respond to the ICC vote to make the 2015 World Cup a 10-team tournament consisting of only the Test nations.

The decision, which was announced on April 4, and closed the door on anyone outside the main 10 nations competing at a World Cup until 2019, sparked fury among Irish cricket as players expressed their anger over Twitter while the chief executive, Warren Deutrom, called it a "dark day for the sport."

Cricket Ireland, in consultation with the other 94 Associate and Affiliate nations, are considering all their options to try and overturn the decision and the Irish Sport's Minister, Leo Varadkar, said the Government would offer their backing.

"I fully support the efforts of Cricket Ireland and the other non-Test countries to persuade the ICC Board to reverse their decision," he told a reception held to ironically mark Ireland's success at the recent World Cup. "And I want you to know that my offices are available to assist the Associate nations in their campaign to have this decision reversed, in any way that you see fit.

"Non-Test nations such as Ireland have played a major part in World Cups, not just by their talent and skill, but also by their commitment, passion and love of the game," he said. "It is difficult to see how the best interests of the game can be served by not allowing countries such as Ireland a chance to compete at the highest level. This 'closed shop' approach cannot be good for the game, and appears to fly in the face of the sacred values that cricket has espoused for so long - namely fair play, sportsmanship and camaraderie."

Cricket Ireland want to pursue all other options before opting for the legal route which could be costly and damaging. It is even unclear what legal challenges are open to them, but if they wanted to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport it is understood they have a three-week window from the date the decision was made. Such a short timeframe makes that an unlikely option.

On Sunday it is the board's AGM which was meant to be a celebration of what Ireland achieved at the World Cup, but will now become a further inquest into the ICC's recent decision and no doubt there will be more strong calls for action.