Belfast Telegraph

Biting Back: Money talks when it comes to all sports

By Jim Gracey

Football's rulers are oft criticised for continually increasing the size of their club and international competitions to the extent some have become unwieldy and oversubscribed.

They are, of course, responding to and recognising the global appeal of the game by making it possible for more countries and players to perform on the biggest stages. Perish the thought TV money might call the tune.

So when Ireland bring more to a Cricket World Cup party than England, it makes even more of a nonsense of the International Cricket Council decision to restrict the number of teams at the next tournament to a so-called elite.

This year's 14 will be cut to 10 in England in 2019, making it likely the associate nations, of whom Ireland are one, will have to battle it out for two qualifying spots.

That has rightly prompted much Irish indignation as they have beaten Test-playing sides West Indies and Zimbabwe at the World Cup and fell just short of reaching the last eight after defeat to Pakistan in Adelaide yesterday.

The reasoning behind a reduced World Cup is hard to understand in terms of further developing the game and broadening its appeal.

But, as in football, money talks, so after the colour and excitement Ireland brought to the box office down under, stand by for the greatest reverse swing in cricket history when the ICC sit down with their TV paymasters to map out World Cup 2019.

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