New rules will hit cricket

The number of overseas players in Norfolk next year could be slashed dramatically under new immigration restrictions.The implications of the Government's new points-based immigration system are that only 24 clubs in Norfolk will be allowed to employ non-EU players next year.

The number of overseas cricket players in Norfolk next year could be slashed dramatically under new immigration restrictions.

The implications of the Government's new points-based immigration system are that only 24 clubs in Norfolk will be allowed to employ non-EU players next year. They include Mundford, Rocklands, Swaffham and Thetford.

Clubs wishing to have an overseas player must obtain a sponsor licence and these will only be issued to clubs which meet at least one of the following criteria:

They are Clubmark accredited


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In 2009 they will be participating in a league recognised by the England and Wales Cricket Board as a Premier League ie the East Anglian Premier League

In addition, the player must have played a minimum of five first-class matches in the previous 24 months and they must have the ECB Level Two coaching qualification, or an equivalent which is recognised by the ECB.

The new restrictions rule out a host of clubs in Norfolk who had overseas players last season - although they will be allowed to employ players from overseas who hold a British passport, or who are already resident in the UK.

Norfolk Cricket Board Development Officer Kieron Tuck said the new system could benefit cricket in the county: "Some clubs have concerns about their coaching programmes and that is one thing the NCB will be keeping an eye on," he said. "We do recognise that overseas coaches do a lot of work at their clubs.

"There is a quite a good pool of coaches around the county and if clubs want guidance they should get in contact with the Norfolk Association of Cricket Coaches."

Tuck said that he expected a "vast drop-off" in the number of overseas players next year - while some clubs may be reluctant to pay inflated rates for players with British passports.

"I think the general consensus is that it is a positive thing," he said. "It will probably reduce the dominance of overseas players - if you look down the Norfolk Alliance, you can see quite clearly that overseas players are dominating games. It will make clubs look more closely at their internal operations and how they can improve their structures without relying on

one individual.

"Several clubs have already indicated that they will spend the money on improving their facilities and youth coaching."

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