CANOC President Keith Joseph insists West Indies cricket has been a unifying force throughout the Caribbean ©Getty Images

The Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) has officially backed the International Cricket Council (ICC) and Cricket West Indies (CWI) campaign for inclusion in the Los Angeles 2028 (LA28) Olympic Games.

CANOC President Keith Joseph believes that LA28 offers cricket "a most excellent opportunity to re-enter the sports programme of the summer Olympics in style."

He predicts that the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, which is set to be hosted jointly by the United States and the Caribbean in June 2024, can "set the foundation," for an Olympic return.

CANOC President Keith Joseph is confident that cricket can return
CANOC President Keith Joseph is confident that cricket can return "in style" to the Olympics in 2028 ©CANOC

"We strongly believe the sport’s inclusion in the programme will have far-reaching impacts on the development of sport, youth and peaceful communities in our region," Joseph insisted.

T20 cricket was introduced at professional level 20 years ago.

"The T20 format in particular, has offered distinct appeal and attraction for both men and women," Joseph explained. 

"The competition format is compact and exciting and provides quick results in a relatively short time, which are all ideal for a multi-sport Games focused on innovation, entertainment and universal engagement."

The Caribbean Premier League attracted a combined broadcast and digital viewership of 721.8 million in 2022, which represented record figures.

"This sport promises to attract over one billion cricket fans to the Olympic Games and open up new sporting and commercial markets worldwide," Joseph claimed. 

"It promises an incredible expansion of the reach of Olympic values and to elevate new nations on to the medal table." 

Barbados represented the Caribbean in cricket at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham ©Getty Images
Barbados represented the Caribbean in cricket at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham ©Getty Images

At the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Caribbean nations competed as individuals and only Barbados took part in the women's T20 cricket.

It is expected that the same would apply if the sport was to gain an Olympic place but Joseph highlighted the unifying role played by the West Indies cricket team for over a century.

"This team has been and is referred to as the embodiment of our collective aspirations, hopes, and dreams, being one of the finest examples of regional integration, collaboration, and cohesiveness demonstrated through sport in any part of the world," Joseph said.

"Whatever our fortunes in cricket contests anywhere in the world, the peoples of the Caribbean and our global diaspora remain insistent that the West Indies cricket team is truly representative of us and stands for us."

West Indies won the first men’s World Cup tournament in 1975, launching a period of dominance in all formats of the sport.

"The region has produced outstanding players in every aspect of the game, rising to the top of the sport, proving ourselves extraordinarily talented and capable of achieving monumental success against other highly legitimate world-class opponents," Joseph continued.

"The sport of cricket is intricately interwoven into the historical and socio-cultural fabric of what is now popularly known globally as Caribbean culture."

West Indies played its first official international test cricket match in 1928.

Cricket is set to present its case for inclusion at LA28 before the International Olympic Committee Session in Mumbai, which is scheduled to take place from October 15 to 17.

It will face opposition from eight other sports including baseball and softball.