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France and MCC stage Olympic rematch

David Hopps

June 9, 2012

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Cricket's sole appearance in the Olympic Games will be re-enacted later this month when teams from France and Britain meet to reprise a match that took place in Paris 112 years ago. France Cricket (FC), the national governing body for the sport, will field a side against the MCC in Twenty20 and 50-over matches at Chateaux du Thoiry on June 16.

The MCC already has its own Olympic connections. Its Lord's home will stage the archery competition in the London Olympics later this summer.

The matches, which have no official Olympic status, are being played to raise awareness of cricket in France, although they will doubtless attract a miniscule amount of attention compared to another France v England clash - in the European football championships on Monday.

In an Olympic year, however, the matches will offer a reminder of one of the more unusual episodes in Olympic history when Devon County Wanderers played a mixed France side drawn from Standard Athletic Club and Albion CC in Paris at the Velodrome de Vincennes. The match was 12-a-side and the majority of France's team were ex-pats. Britain won the game by 156 runs.

Although the match was eventually classified as an OIympic event, more than a century passed before cricket was given full recognition as a sport by the International Olympic Committee OC in 2010.

The ICC has yet to decide whether to apply to become an Olympic sport - it would presumably play havoc with an already overcrowded international calendar - and the absence of cricket from the London Olympics has meant that an obvious opportunity has already passed the game by.

France claims about 4,000 active players and more than 200 qualified coaches. They have already achieved one notable success by getting permission from the French Primary School Sports Association to deliver cricket training to teachers, raising ambitions to spread the word in 200 primary schools by 2015. Because of a shortage of cricket grounds, the plan is to develop short forms of the game indoors.

France are among the lowliest nations in world cricket, with ambitious to qualify for Division Eight of the ICC's World Cricket League in Samoa in September. After indulging in a spot of Olympic history, they will take part in a four-nation qualifying tournament from June 20-23 against Austria, Belgium and Gibraltar.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (June 10, 2012, 18:57 GMT)

what's the point of making cricket an olympic sport? With international and domestic schedules to keep, no team is going to send their full strength team to the olympics. And for those who say having cricket in the olympics will raise its global profile, Fencing and Waterpolo are also olympic sports, how much did that help in raising their profile as sports?

Posted by   on (June 10, 2012, 16:46 GMT)

Cricket Will Dominate!! The Greatest Sports Is Missing The Olympics!! Only 10 Test Playing Nations But 2nd Best Sports IN the world!! We Love Cricket!!

Posted by diddles on (June 9, 2012, 23:14 GMT)

Let's be more optimistic. There is some excellent development work in cricket across the globe these days, something unimagineable 20 or more years ago. France, like many other European countries are making some real progress in the game. The ICC Development team have certainly done some good work....and long may it continue as cricket does need to expand its horizons. The current test countries do need to take a bigger role in this development work by providing more opportunities for these 2nd and 3rd tier countries to progress. Most importantly, all future world cups, and not just the 2015 (50 over) event, should include qualifiers from outside the test world. In fact, unlike 2015, all future world cups should be at least 16 team events......we want to provide maximum incentive for non-test countries to raise their standards and increase their participation levels. As to the Olympics, every effort should be made to get cricket into that massive event....it's a no brainer.

Posted by D-Ascendant on (June 9, 2012, 23:02 GMT)

I agree with BalldiƱho II.

Posted by doctornikki on (June 9, 2012, 22:58 GMT)

Balldinho dear..these 10 test playing nations dont play others to save them the humiliation which will make other nations so disheart...they have real high standards especially the top eight teams...the gap is so wide..

Posted by   on (June 9, 2012, 18:19 GMT)

Cricket will never be an Olympic sport as long as this 'Membership Status' is in place and the Test Nations continue to only play themselves in meaningless Bilateral series that does not get the WORLD involved. Why would the Olympics add a sport in which 10 nations don't believe they have to qualify for tournaments. even the USA in basketball and Brazil in football must qualify!!

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David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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