The Russian Government has recognised cricket as a sport today according to the European Cricket Network, allowing the sports national governing body, Cricket Russia, to be eligible for funding and other support from the country’s sports ministry.
The Putin Government made news in bizarre fashion in July last year, refusing to include cricket as well as Muay Thai on its register, despite the inclusion of draughts and mini-golf.
According to members of the Moscow Cricket Sports Federation who spoke to the BBC last year, the original refusal was down to errors in an application for inclusion on the ministry’s register. Ten months later and after tireless work from Cricket Russia and other officials involved in the sport, the ministry has reversed its decision, bolstering cricket’s position in future sporting progress.
Speaking to the European Cricket Network, Ashwani Chopra, President of Cricket Russia, was understandably overjoyed.
“This is an incredible milestone in the history of cricket in Russia.
“The decision will further boost our efforts to raise the profile of cricket in Russia.”
Russia was granted ICC membership in 2012 and the sport’s history in the country dates back as far as the 1870s in St. Petersburg. They were also a founding national member of the European Cricket League, with the St. Petersburg Lions the first ever ECL qualifiers for the tournament.
ECL Founder Daniel Weston welcomed the news.
“From knowing Ashwani and many of the people and players involved with Cricket Russia, this is a landmark moment in their pioneering efforts to push the game forward,” he told the Network.
The national team are yet to compete in an official T20I even after universal status was granted for every ICC member in April 2018, though recognition and subsequent national funding are guaranteed to boost future endeavours.
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