Cricket: Scotland eye $1.5m World Cup windfall

SCOTLAND have been handed a massive incentive to qualify for the World Cup, with a potential $1.5 million (£763,000) pot on offer from the International Cricket Council, around treble their previous annual income from the sport's governing body.

Even if Scotland fail to qualify for the 2011 finals, they can still expect to double their annual income from the previous figure of around $500,000 to $1 million.

While the windfall would not be sufficient for Scotland to press ahead with a full-time structure for its national team, the cash would mean more money for players and grass-roots development as well as more, high-calibre international fixtures.

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The ICC announced a 120 per cent increase yesterday in its financial support for the development of cricket outside of the ten full Test-playing countries over the next eight years, with $300 million to be shared. "It is the biggest investment in global development by any sport outside football," said ICC chief Haroon Lorgat.

Roddy Smith, chief executive of Cricket Scotland, said: "In practical terms, the impact on Scottish cricket depends on a range of qualifying criteria which obviously cannot be predicted with certainty.

"But the indicative support for the game in Scotland is likely to be in the region of approximately a 250 per cent increase – provided the country's national team continues to perform at its current level in the ICC's High Performance programme.

"In our published strategic plan, On the Front Foot, which covers 2008 to 2011, we have made ambitious statements about the progress we wish to make across our three main cricket areas.

"These are expanding and improving structures and playing numbers within our community development programme, improving the services we offer our most talented youth players, and putting in place a world class performance programme for Scottish international cricketers.

"Any new funding streams we have access to will be used across the whole spectrum of cricket development in Scotland.

"All such matters will be discussed by the Cricket Scotland Board in due course, with a view to our operational plan for 2009 being submitted to funding partners at the end of October."