Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Kolpak, sounds a bit South African to me

There has been a lot of news and discussion about the number of ‘Kolpak’ players playing in English County Cricket -- but what is a Kolpak player?

The United Kingdom is part of the European Union (EU) which is a political and economic union of twenty-seven member states. One of the principles of the EU is a guarantee of free movement of people, trade, services and capital. This means that any EU resident can work for any European company, including county cricket clubs and that it is illegal to discriminate against people of any member state.

South Africa is not in the EU, so... what has all this EU stuff got to do with South Africans playing in England? In 2003, Maroš Kolpak took the German Handball Federation to the European Court of Justice because he had been discharged from his German handball club because they had a non-EU player quota system. Maroš is from Slovakia which (at the time) was not part of the EU. His argument was that as he was allowed to work in the EU he should be allowed to work for whomever he liked. The Court of Justice found in Kolpak’s favour and ruled that any person who is allowed to work in the EU from a country that has an Associate Trade Agreement with the EU (like Slovakia) must be treated the same as an EU citizen. This has become known as the Kolpak ruling. South Africa have an Associate Trade Agreement with the EU and so if a South African cricketer has a work permit he can legally play for a country cricket team without breaking any ‘non-EU’ player rules.

1 comment:

scorpicity said...

interesting info... however wasn't some south african player recently denied access to the UK and it stirred up some controversy.