With the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union, the future of the so-called "Kolpak" cricketers seems in jeopardy, as they would not be eligible to play in the English county game by 2021.
The Kolpak ruling means that citizens of countries that have signed the European Union (EU) Association Agreements, who are legally working within an EU country, have the same rights as EU citizens.
At the moment, Kolpak signings and cricketers with EU passports are eligible to play in England without counting as an “overseas” player, but they would now directly affect by a no-deal Brexit – which means English county cricket will likely be without Kolpak cricketers from 2021.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have already told the 18 First-Class counties that Kolpak cricketers won’t be allowed to play beyond 2020 with Britain departing from the EU on October 31 without an agreement, which has been floated by incoming prime minister Boris Johnson.
In that case, new Kolpak signings would be impossible and existing deals would likely terminate at the end of the 2020 season with some would easily earn overseas deals on the basis of their current status being revoked but many more would be expected to leave the county circuit.
There are dozens of Kolpaks signed to counties, with the most high-profile including Yorkshire’s Duanne Olivier, Hampshire’s Kyle Abbott, Essex’s Simon Harmer, Lancashire’s Dane Vilas, Sussex’s David Wiese, Worcestershire’s Wayne Parnell, and Surrey’s Morne Morkel.
(With AFP Inputs)