Onlanka News – By Janaka Alahapperuma from London
The International Cricket Council (ICC) – Europe together with Syed Kamall, member of the European Parliament representing UK, Chairman of European Parliamentary Cricket Inter Group and the International Cricket Council hosted a two day event from 25 to 26 September at the European Parliament promoting the game of cricket within the European parliament and in Europe main land.
A two day exhibition ‘Cricket-take Part’, a panel discussions and the launch of ‘Friends of Cricket in the European Parliament’ group, were the highlights of this event. There were ranges of other activities organised to promote the game in Europe.
In the view of the ongoing T-20 Cricket World Cup tournament hosted by Sri Lanka, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Brussels was invited to take part in this event including in the panel discussions. Several MEPs, Cricket enthusiasts in the European Parliament graced the occasion. Large number of special guests was also present to take part in the work shop and panel discussions. Key European figureheads including Nick Pink- ICC Regional Development Manager; Warren Deutrom- Chief Executive, Cricket Ireland; Ole Roland- Chief Executive, Dansk Cricket Forbund (Denmark); Marike Dickmann- Cricket Development Manager, KNCB (The Netherlands); Andy Sellins and Andy Dalby-Welsh, Cricket 4 Change; Jacqueline Morel, USEP- French Primary Schools representative; Ambassador P.M.Amza and Madhuka Wickramarachchi, Sri Lanka Embassy representatives and Syed Kamall were among them. The discussions aim to provide an opportunity to promote cricket in Europe to a range of MEPs, advisors and other European representatives.
The Embassy of Sri Lanka to Belgium, Luxemburg and the European Union played a significant role in the Cricket Promoting event in the Europe. Ambassador Amza said, in line with the ICC World T-20 currently being contested in Sri Lanka, he had a unique opportunity to promote Sri Lanka Cricket as well as the country as a whole in the EU parliament. There were plenty of opportunities to discuss all aspects of the cricket especially in Sri Lanka and Asia, he further added.
According to the recent research figures released by the ICC European Development Program, the numbers of people participating in formal cricket competitions across 27 European countries has increased by 100 per cent in the last decade. The huge increase in the popularity of the game is also reflected in the increase in the number of people involved at a coaching, officiating and administrative level.
Picture is seen here Ambassador P.M.Amza handing over an official cap of Sri Lanka Cricket to Parliamentarian Syed Kamall. Also in the picture is the ICC Europe Regional Development Manager Mr Nick Pink.