Friday 26 January 2007 

Rudolph Arrival Under The Spotlight

The PCA (Professional Cricketers' Association) are demanding answers from the ECB regarding the controversial signing of Jacques Rudolph for Yorkshire.

The county announced his signing as a Kolpak player even though ECB regulations state he is not eligible due to having played for South Africa in the past year.

Yorkshire are claiming that the ECB have conceded that the rule is not legally enforceable and so have gone ahead with the signing. The PCA are looking for clarification as they fear Yorkshire are pushing the limits of the regulations and a precedent could be set.

Ian Smith, PCA vice president commented:

"The PCA are far from happy with the situation and we are waiting to hear from the ECB.''

The Kolpak ruling allows players from countries with trade agreements with the European Union to play for English sides without counting on the overseas quota.

Rudolph is without doubt a quality player and a top signing for Yorkshire, but the deal has attracted controversy as it has been claimed that he has not given up hope of playing for his country in the future.

To qualify for Kolpak status a player must relinquish the opportunity to play for his country. However, the inference made from quotes in South Africa has been that Rudolph intends to return to South Africa after his three-year stay with Yorkshire.

There would be nothing to be able to stop him as Rudolph will still hold Kolpak status as long as he does not seek to play for South Africa.

Technically he should not return but there is a precedent; Phil Jaques has relinquished EU status to qualify for Australia and Paul Harris, a Kolpak player, has been called up by South Africa.

The PCA are most concerned with the rule stating that a Kolpak player cannot have played international cricket in the preceeding 12 months - something which Rudolph has patently done, as recently as August. Furthermore, he is still centrally contracted by South Africa.

ECB cricket operations manager Alan Fordham told PA Sport the governing body would comment on the matter in due course.