Cricket enjoys a long tradition of fair play and gentlemanly conduct. A game of two teams trying to score as many ‘runs’ as possible in a limited time, cricket is a unique team sport of individual performances and tactical decisions.
Cricket is played professionally in Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Kenya, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies & Zimbabwe, and after football, is the second most popular sport worldwide.
Closer to home it is played as an amateur (or recreational) sport in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Italy, Holland, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, Spain - and of course in Switzerland, by 450 registered senior and 650+ junior cricketers in over twenty clubs and schools, all of which are affiliated to this association.
Cricket Switzerland, with its registered home in the Swiss capital of Berne, is the premier governing body for cricket in Switzerland, commanding a membership estimated at 1000+ cricketers and their families of all ages, and is recognised by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
It organizes a domestic 40 over league, a Twenty20 competition, and selects and organises senior & junior international squads and coaching & training courses throughout Switzerland. Cricket Switzerland also has two spin-off associations: the Swiss Federation Of Cricket Umpires & Scorers (sFOCUS) and the Cricket Coaches Association of Switzerland (CCAS), comprising of over 45 coaches & 30 umpires.
Cricketers come from all over Switzerland, mainly from the Geneva, Bern, Basel and Zürich areas. They are typically bilingual, possess a good awareness of multiple cultures, enjoy an above average schooling and subsequently many enjoy an above average income.
Cricket is played on public sports fields and school grounds with an artificial pitch. Thanks to the support of local sports councils, Basel, C.E.R.N., Cossonay, Geneva & Winterthur have permanent NottsSport© surfaces. Cossonay (near Lausanne) is a purpose built cricket ONLY ground. And Olten is rumoured to be in the making!
Youth development in Switzerland offers youngsters the chance to spend their free time being healthy & active, to interact constructively with their peer groups, and to meet with others from a variety of cultures, encouraging tolerance in a multi-cultural society.
From the humble beginning of just a handful of enthusiastic juniors in 2005, some 650 youngsters aged between 6-17 years of age now play cricket under the umbrella of the Cricket Switzerland’s Youth Development scheme. The success of the youth cricket movement is spreading fast with numbers growing year by year. Youth cricket in Switzerland has spread throughout the country, and leagues now are played between the regions at Under 11, 13, 15 and 17 levels. The sport has already reached out into several international and local schools and proved a big hit with pupils – both boys and girls. This has allowed the steady integration of local youngsters into a sport unfamiliar in Switzerland.
For their part, Swiss parents are happy to see their sons and daughters indulging in a sport that lacks the hostile edge of football and ice hockey. In addition, their children mix with others from different ethnic backgrounds and learn better English language skills in the process. Expatriate parents are also delighted to find a thriving youth cricket scene in Switzerland that helps smooth the family transition from their home countries by supplying a familiar outlet for their children.
The spread of the game has been assisted by enthusiastic parents’ participation in ECB coaching courses. Dozens of qualified coaches are turning up week after week to encourage and hone the skills of future Swiss cricketers, with more coaching programmes planned.
The rapid strides being made in Swiss youth cricket has not gone unnoticed by the game’s governing body – the International Cricket Council (ICC). Several European awards have already been a received by the country’s enthusiastic organisers.
You can also read about the Cricket Switzerland on CricInfo.