Find us on Facebook

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Kolpak ruling favours ECB

What have a handball player and the England And Wales Cricket Board got in common?

Well the former has forced the latter to lobby a change in the law.

Confused? Let me explain.

The ECB have finally won the battle with so called ‘Kolpak players’ who exploited the legal loophole established by Slovakian handball player Maros Kolpak.

The controversy began when a European Court of Justice ruling in 2003 went in favour of Kolpak, who was seeking work in Germany. Kolpak's legal action allowed players from countries and regions with associate trade agreements with the European Union - such as South Africa and the West Indies - to be treated as non-overseas players.

It is sort of the cricketing equivalent of the Bosman ruling in football - which gave players the freedom to move wherever they liked at the end of their contract and transformed the football transfer system.

This saw a flood of players entering England to turn out for Counties across the country, many of whom were disenchanted at their own domestic game’s quota system.

Now most of those players, such as Dwayne Smith of Sussex, have been forced to leave the country as victims of the new Home Office laws. These laws now state that only players who have held a valid work permit for four years will be able to continue to be employed as though they were EU citizens by counties.

Is this a good thing?

Well the ECB certainly thinks so. After all it is in their interest to look after the interest of their English game. And while foreign players clearly add to the county cricket game, the Kolpakruling arguably led to a number of lesser talented players plying their trade in England.

Things seemed to come to a head in 2008 when 11 'Kolpak' players took the field in a Northants v Leicestershire match. The ECB began fighting back by fining counties for every ‘Kolpakker’ played £1,100 per player per match. The money was docked from the £1m handout granted by the ECB to each county every year.

But this ruling finally brings an interesting sideshow in the English game to a sensible conclusion. Maybe the ECB and counties can concentrate on the task in hand – producing world class English cricketers .

By Tom Mallows

1 comment:

No illegal live streaming links. They will be deleted and repeated such comments will force us to register complaints to concerning authorities