Volume: 6 Issue: 4
The Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) will take its case against the England & Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) refusal to register three Indian Cricket League (ICL) players for County Cricket to the High Court if an internal appeal, to be heard on 30 April, fails.
The three players, Justin Kemp (Kent), Andrew Hall and Johannes van der Wath (Northamptonshire) have been refused registration by the ECB under regulation 2.1(b) of the ECB's 2008 Regulations Governing the Qualification and Registration of Cricketers, after they took part in the ICL. This regulation allows the ECB to refuse registration of a player if they have 'played cricket for any Full Member County outside the EEA' or if they have 'played Professional Cricket in any such Full Member County outside the EEA except for First Class Cricket' within the last 12 months.
The ICL is not recognised by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and is therefore not recognised by the International Cricket Council (ICC), however its rival - the Indian Premier League - is. This means that the ECB's regulations do not apply to the IPL, as it is an event recognised as 'First Class Cricket' by the ECB.
"The regulations changed on 8 March", said Ian Smith, Vice President of Legal Affairs for the Professional Cricketers Association (PCA), which is backing the appeals. "This means that Kemp and van der Wath's appeal will be heard under the 2007 regulations, whereas Hall's appeal will be heard under the 2008 regulations". Smith said that the 30 April appeal is the "last internal stage" during which the dispute could be resolved. "We are prepared to take this to the High Court if the appeal ruling is not in our favour", he said.
A survey of 334 players, released by the PCA on 25 April, found that 36 players had been approached to play in the Indian leagues and 35% of England players would consider retiring from international cricket to play in the IPL.
It found that 'almost 100%' were hoping that a window in the Future Tours Programme and domestic scheduling could be created for the Indian cricket leagues. It also found that 64% of England players have no confidence in the ICC to govern international cricket and 57% believe that ICC decision-making is controlled by the BCCI.
However, Sean Morris, Chief Executive of the PCA, dismissed as "a bit premature" a report in The Guardian, which suggested that discontent over the way international cricket was being managed could 'effectively lead to a vote of no confidence in the ICC' at the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations annual conference in Austin, Texas, on 26 May.