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ICC cut World Cup numbers

The International Cricket Council have confirmed the next two World Cups will be contested by 10 teams, dealing a major blow to associate nations such as Ireland.

The 2011 competition featured 14 sides but the ICC executive board had made their intentions clear last October to cut that by four for the 2015 and 2019 events. There was opposition from associate nations, who felt their likely exclusion from the World Cup would hinder development, and the cause took on new momentum when Ireland defeated England in the group stages.

The executive board discussed the issue again at a scheduled meeting in Mumbai on Monday, with the possibility of a 12-team tournament under consideration. But instead the board members decided to affirm their previous decision, with only the full member nations invited to the next World Cup before a qualification process is opened ahead of 2019.

A statement following the meeting read: "The executive board confirmed their decision, made in October 2010, that the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand and the ICC Cricket World Cup in England in 2019 will be a 10-team event.

"The board agreed that the 2015 World Cup will comprise the existing 10 full members, however, they gave notice to all full members that participation in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup will be determined on the basis of qualification. It was also agreed that post the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 there will be promotion and relegation introduced in the ODI League."

The board also congratulated 2011 co-hosts India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh on a successful World Cup, hailing the quality of cricket on show and the uptake of tickets and declaring the tournament "an outstanding financial success".

ICC president Sharad Pawar added: "The tournament reinforced the attraction of 50-over cricket and showed the enthusiasm and excitement generated by nation-versus-nation cricket.

"There is no doubt that this event has been a great advertisement for ODI cricket. I would like to congratulate both the Indian team and the Sri Lankan team for a befitting final match at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai which was played in the best of spirits and provided great entertainment to millions following the game the world over."

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From Belfast Telegraph