The International Cricket Council (ICC) Board unanimously approved a new ICC Men's Cricket World Cup qualification pathway at the conclusion of a week of meetings in Singapore. From 2019, a new simplified 50 over league-based qualification structure for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup will be introduced that will see the amount of cricket played as part of the Road to India 2023 rise to 372 matches across a 2-3 year qualification period.
In a bid to encourage the growth of cricket globally, the Board agreed to relax the criterion for entry to both men's and women's teams in the World T20 qualification pathway. To enter the pathway, members now only require eight unique domestic teams playing a minimum of five matches over the last two years, as opposed to ten previously. Additionally, the entry fee for each member to participate has been abolished.
Following consultation with members, it has been agreed in respect to multi-day cricket, that the ICC will now seek Expressions of Interest from Members who have previously competed in the I-Cup and/or World Cricket League Championship, who are keen and committed to playing the multi-day format. Following this, a structured multi-day competition on a cost-sharing basis will be proposed giving members the choice of playing longer form cricket.
"To date the World Cricket League has played an important role in improving standards in Associate Member cricket, but feedback from our consultation with Members clearly articulated the need for more frequent playing opportunities and greater certainty over when they would be playing," said ICC Chief Executive David Richardson.
The ICC confirmed that there will be a qualifying event in all five ICC regions with the top team in each region progressing to the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup Qualifier/ICC Women's World T20 Qualifier. This changes the qualification to the 2021 ICC Women's World Cup which will now see the hosts plus the top four teams from the ICC Women's Championship qualify directly whilst the bottom three teams in that competition will join Bangladesh, Ireland and the five regional winners in the Qualifier.
Additionally, it was confirmed that there will be an expansion of the ICC Women's Championship to ten teams in the next edition, meaning all ODI sides will compete in the league.
As part of the ICC's ongoing commitment to growing the women's game and providing an inclusive environment, the Board unanimously approved a change to the naming conventions of ICC events, hereafter to be referred to as ICC Men's Cricket World Cup, ICC Women's Cricket World Cup, ICC Men's World T20, and ICC Women's World T20.
Among other decisions, the Board approved the composition of the ICC Umpire Selection Panel, which will comprise Geoff Allardice, ICC GM - Cricket, Ranjan Madugalle, ICC Chief Referee, David Boon, ICC Referee and Sanjay Manjrekar, Broadcaster.
It was also agreed that in light of rising costs of cricket globally, members would make significant efforts to making international bilateral cricket more affordable with a view to long-term sustainability.
The Board unanimously agreed to improve the current ICC policies and procedures around the protection of children and vulnerable adults as well as more widely in relation to protection against sexual harassment, bullying and inappropriate behaviour and improving standards of off-field behaviour at ICC events.
As a result, a new Safeguarding Policy for Children and vulnerable adults will be developed along with guidelines for Member Boards to support them in the protection of all individuals within their jurisdictions.
Additionally, an ICC Event Behaviour and Welfare Policy will also be introduced with immediate effect. This will address, in particular, the standards of off-field behaviour expected of Players, Player Support Personnel and others working at ICC events for or on behalf of the ICC or local organising committee. This policy will include provisions that protect against harassment, indecent exposure, inappropriate behaviour with tournament staff and inappropriate behaviour in event accommodation and venues.