JOHANNESBURG – The England Cricket Board confirmed changes it has made to the status of Kolpak players stating those players won’t qualify as “locals” in the County cricket from the start of next year as a result of ‘Brexit.’
In a letter addressed to among others, Cricket South Africa, the ECB said that “all Kolpak players will have their registration cancelled by the ECB with effect from 1 January 2021.”
In addition, “no further applications by any Kolpak player for registration will be accepted,” and it “will apply regardless of whether” the player “is able to obtain an ancestral or family visa giving them the right to work in the UK.”
The ECB’s decision has long been mooted and players who have been playing on the basis of Kolpak contracts have in some instances already negotiated with their County employers in the UK to have their status changed to ‘overseas’ players.
The ECB’s rules will allow for the two overseas players per starting team for County sides. The likes of Kyle Abbott, who has a contract with Hampshire, is understood to have already agreed to stay at the County as an overseas player.
Meanwhile Simon Harmer, who at one stage was pushing to qualify to play for England, acknowledged last month that the door was shut on that possibility, and that he would be negotiating with Essex to represent them as an overseas player.
The Daily Mail reported last month that Dane Vilas and Cameron Delport were going to appeal to the ECB to allow them to fulfil their existing contracts for the 2021 season as local players.
Vilas, who plays for Lancashire and Delport, who plays for Essex in England’s T20 competition hold ancestry visas – Vilas through his wife – which allow them to work in the UK beyond the end of the year.
The ECB’s letter, signed by its head of cricket operations Alan Fordham, which was also sent to the Irish, Zimbabwean and West Indies cricket authorities, said the changes to the status of overseas players could be reviewed, should the date for “Brexit”, – scheduled for 31 December – change.