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ECB closing in on Kolpak ruling- 30 May 2008 07:45:00

The England and Wales Cricket Board is reportedly close to securing a key recommendation which could lead to the reduction of foreign players plying their trade in England under the Kolpak ruling.

At present, players from countries such as South Africa and the West Indies can play for county sides as if they were domestic players. But the body lobbying the European Commission for the ECB is confident of a statement which favours change.

The ECB wants to create a bigger pool of players qualified for England in order to boost the competition for places in the national team.

The name 'Kolpak' came from the Slovakian handball player Maros Kolpak, who in 2004 won a ruling in the European Court of Justice in 2004 allowing him to play professionally in Germany without being classed as a foreigner.

The term has been tagged onto cricketers from South Africa and the West Indies, who are able to come into the UK and play county cricket without being classed as an overseas player.

Officially, there is only one 'overseas' player allowed per side in county cricket - but the reality is different.

A statement from the Commission is expected in mid-June but, if it is as the ECB expects, it would take much longer for any ruling to come into effect and there could be appeals.

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