Wednesday 25 July 2007 

South Africa And England Push To Restrict Kolpak Deals

South African cricketing authorities have revealed they will be making efforts to reduce the amount of players playing abroad as 'Kolpak' players, aided by their English counterparts.

The Kolpak ruling enables players from countries which have a trade agreement with the European Union to play without being classed as an overseas player so long as they do not play internationally.

A meeting between Norman Arendse, President of Cricket South Africa (CSA) and David Collier, Chief Executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) was arranged to discuss the issue.

"Both countries are unhappy about the proliferation of Kolpak players and Dave said he would support our efforts to stop the flow of cricketers from South Africa," Arendse told reporters in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

He was speaking as a new understanding between CSA and the South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) was unveiled; all professional players will now become stakeholders in South African cricket and will have standardised contracts.

An inclusion in the agreement is that any professional player in South Africa must have a clause in any overseas contract that allows him to be released when required for overseas duty.

The current Kolpak ruling means players have to make themselves unavailable for national selection.

Arendse continued, "The ECB have applied to the European Union (EU) to seek exemption from the trade agreement that allows for Kolpak players and if that doesn't succeed, then Cricket South Africa will join them in raising the issue at ICC level, with the support of the players' association.

"The Kolpak ruling is problematic, it is a very artificial arrangement. But it also means our players are cheap for the counties."

SACA chief executive Tony Irish said: "For a cricketer to play in South Africa his home needs to be here, he can't just dabble in our cricket. So we want to limit opportunities for players to sign Kolpak deals."