The Israel Cricket Association has won the Pepsi ICC Development Programme Annual Awards 2009 in the Spirit of Cricket category for their Cross Border Cricket project.
The project, the brainchild of ICA youth coach George Sheader, has been running for over 12 months, introducing young players in Bedouin towns in the Negev desert to the game, and then focusing on facilitating interaction between the Arabic-speaking Bedouin children and Hebrew-speaking Jewish children from other areas across Israel in which cricket cricket is coached through enjoying combined cricket acitivities together.
ICA chairman Stanley Perlman said: “The ICA will continue to strive to use cricket to break down barriers and improve the lot of others. We are doing it in the Bedouin community and plan to expand the project to additional areas as well. We are proud that our efforts have received global recognition, and people around the world can know it is possible to challenge prejudice and social injustice, particularly here in Israel and specifically through the game of cricket.
"The ICA wishes to extend their congratulations to all those who have made this success possible, and in particular George Sheader who has done a magnificent job in developing cricket in the Negev for so many years, our partners in the Hura sports department and Cricket4Change in the UK who have offered assistance in many different ways", added Perlman.
Richard Holdsworth, the ICC’s Regional Development Manager for Europe, congratulated all winners, in particular those from Europe who won four of the eight awards on offer: “This a fantastic achievement for the Europe region, to win a record four awards at the Global awards proves how much excellent development work all the countries are doing and how far we have come".
This year’s judging panel featured current ICC President David Morgan, alongside former ICC presidents Ehsan Mani, Malcolm Gray and Ray Mali. Keith Bradshaw, the Secretary and Chief Executive of Marylebone Cricket Club, completed the line-up.
This marks the second time the ICA has won an ICC Global Award, having won the Spirit of Cricket as well in the inaugural year of the awards in 2002.