The International Cricket Council (ICC) Board has announced the relocation of the 2024 Men’s Under-19 World Cup from Sri Lanka to South Africa. This unanimous decision comes in the wake of the ICC’s recent provisional suspension of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) due to extensive government interference in the administration of the cricket board.
No Immediate Disruption to Cricket
Despite the shift in the host country, the ICC Board has clarified that there will be no immediate disruption to the daily running of cricket. All levels of cricket, including bilateral and domestic series and tournaments, will continue without interruption. However, control over ICC annual funding to Sri Lanka will be maintained until the suspension is lifted.
The conflict between SLC and Sri Lanka’s sports minister Roshan Ranasinghe has been ongoing, with accusations of corruption and mismanagement on one side and allegations of government meddling on the other. SLC President Shammi Silva had previously notified the ICC of government interference in November 2022, leading to the ICC’s intervention and an investigative visit by deputy chairman Imran Khawaja to Sri Lanka.
South Africa as the New Host
South Africa, a recent favourite for hosting U-19 World Cup events, will now host the 2024 edition after successfully organizing the inaugural Women’s U-19 World Cup in 2023 and the men’s U-19 World Cup in 2020. The likely venues for the 2024 edition are the two grounds each in Benoni and Potchefstroom, which hosted the women’s competition earlier this year.
The 2024 Men’s U-19 World Cup will see a fresh format, introducing the ‘Super Sixes’ as a new segment during the second stage of the event. The top 11 Full Member sides from the 2022 edition have qualified directly, and five teams – Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Scotland, and the USA – have earned their spots through regional qualification events.