Ukraine is looking to become an associate member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) with its CEO Kobus Oliver warning that the game may not survive in the country if it is denied the status adding that it “ticks all the boxes”.

Ukraine is widely expected to be granted a second-tier membership at the governing body’s board meeting this month, entitling the war-torn country to T20 International status and funds from the ICC, which has earmarked $30.8 million for its 96 associate members this year.

The Ukraine Cricket Federation (UCF) has been actively organizing cricket for the last two decades in the country and boasts a pool of 15,000 students at the senior level with most of them coming from India.

Kobus Olivier also said that Ukraine met all the ICC requirements before the Russian invasion. “We ticked all the boxes on Feb. 24 when the war started,” he said. “I have so much belief in this process … and I am absolutely confident Ukraine will be an associate member of the ICC.”

UCF is doing its part in the continuation of the development of players as UCF President Hardeep Singh has made arrangements for the national team to train in India while Olivier set up a base in Zagreb after fleeing Kyiv.

He is running the UCF’s junior and women’s cricket programs from Zagreb and engaging refugees, mostly mothers, and children, in cricket-in-the-park sessions three days a week.

Olivier is also planning to host a ‘Ukrainian Freedom Cup’ in Zagreb next month with teams from Serbia, Slovenia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic.

If the ICC rejects its membership application the consequences for the game in Ukraine would be dire, Olivier said. ICC membership would make the UCF eligible for government funding and could attract new sponsors easing their financial strain.

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