Kolpak window likely to slam shut after 2020 UK cricket season_1

Cricket South Africa (CSA) might be able to breathe a little easier after 2020 with the Kolpak ruling set to no longer be in effect in English cricket thanks to Brexit.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) recently issued guidelines stating the expectation that all Kolpak registrations would be invalidated at the end of 2020.

Kolpak window expected to slam shut

That means that Kolpak players with multi-year contracts could find themselves out of work unless their County Cricket employers choose to engage their services as overseas professionals.

To offset the impact of the decision it is understood that the ECB have discussed allowing each County to contract two overseas professionals per season. As things stand County teams are only allowed one overseas professional except for the duration of their domestic T20 competition, the Vitality Blast for which they are allowed a second foreign player.

The ECB had allowed up to two overseas players as recently as 2007 but that restriction was tightened due, in part, to the increased number of Kolpak registrations.

English cricket’s player union the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) have voiced their support for the move, and while individual Kolpak players may challenge having their contracts torn up they might have to do so without the support of the PCA and their County employers.

“The PCA recognises the legal position of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU,” Daryl Mitchell, the PCA chairman, said according to ESPN Cricinfo. “These developments will bring England more closely in line with other first-class systems regarding primarily having nationals of that country playing as locals.
“A number of Kolpak registered players have committed to a career in England beyond 2020 and their needs as PCA members are very important to us. Our view is increasing overseas players to two per county in the County Championship and One-Day Cup would be a positive outcome. This would allow opportunities for these players to continue their careers in England and help to maintain standards in the county game.”

Some Kolpak players have a clause in their contracts guaranteeing continued employment as an overseas professional in the event that their Kolpak registration is void. Crucially as overseas players former Kolpaks would become eligible to play for their country of origin once again.

Players playing in England thanks to European or British passports will not be effected by the changes as they are classified as non-overseas players.

None of these changes are set in stone and could all be effected by the ongoing trade talks between Britain and the European Union.