Friday 10 August 2007 

Home Office Refuse Harvey Appeal

The Home Office have refused to grant Ian Harvey British citizenship therefore denying him the opportunity to continue his playing career with Derbyshire.

The England and Wales Cricket Board had ruled that the Australian born all rounder could not play for Derbyshire as a non overseas cricketer until he received Home Office confirmation of his British citizenship.

Derbyshire and Harvey, who has already been granted residency and employment rights, had already lodged an unsuccessful appeal to the ECB on the grounds that other players in the same situation had been granted their registration.

Harvey was informed that his initial citizenship application would have been approved but for a drink driving conviction. The Australian all rounder had made the Club aware of the incident immediately when it occurred earlier this year and the matter was dealt with internally.

At a court hearing in April, the 35-year-old pleaded guilty to the charge at Derby Magistrates Court and received a nine month ban and fine. Under Home Office guidelines the conviction counts against his character and has prevented his application from being approved.

The Club made further representations to the Home Office on Harvey’s behalf and he received widespread support from his fellow players, including England captain Michael Vaughan.

Ian Harvey said: ‘This is obviously a very bitter blow to myself and my family. I feel I have been punished many times over for one offence. I fully accepted I had made a mistake, pleaded guilty and was dealt with by the court. In addition to that I have been punished by the Home Office in refusing my citizenship and the ECB for not exercising their discretion when they have the power to do so.

‘This could effectively mean the premature end of my playing career which is a bitter pill to swallow.

‘I cannot thank everyone involved at Derbyshire enough for their support. They have stuck by me throughout this when they could have easily cut me loose immediately. Not only have the club kept me on board but they have given me an opportunity to develop my coaching skills which is something I will now look to progress.

‘I would love to remain with the club in some capacity to repay the enormous faith they have shown in me and because this is a club that is going places. It has the best off the field set up I have been involved with and some great people involved throughout.’

Derbyshire chief executive Tom Sears said: ‘This is devastating news for Ian and his family and seems a punishment completely disproportionate to the offence.

‘Throughout this matter Ian has conducted himself with honesty and integrity and there seems little justice in this verdict. This is not just about Derbyshire wanting to field an outstanding cricketer who has given so much to the game for many years. This is about a man with a young family being denied a right to earn his living despite having full residential and employment rights in this country. He is allowed to perform almost any other job in this country but not play first class cricket – that doesn’t seem right.

‘As it is Ian will remain with us for the rest of this season then we will sit down and discuss potential options for the future.’

© Derbyshire CCC