The racial quota system that forces Kyle Abbott to choose English County ahead of his own country. The word ‘Kolpak’ emerges here. Here is the detail what ‘Kolpak’ is.

What is the Kolpak ruling and why it is called that?

Citizens of countries which have signed European Union Association Agreements, have the same right to freedom of work and movement within the EU (European Union) as EU citizens. So the restrictions placed on their right to work (quota system in sports team) are deemed illegal. This rule was made when a European Court of Justice ruling handed down on 8 May 2003 in favour of Maroš Kolpak, a Slovak handball player.

What are its impact on cricket?

Players who have signed such deals with the EU, can play cricket for any EU country without being considered as an overseas player.

How do South Africans qualify?

County cricket clubs could already employ any number of EU residents under the Bosman ruling. There are no other Test cricket nations within the EU, however, which explains why it was Kolpak, not Bosman, which has had the significant impact on English county cricket. The largest group of countries with an association agreement with the EU is the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) Group of States, which includes South Africa, Zimbabwe, and many of the nations that supply the West Indies cricket team.

Can a signed player play for his country?

No. A player with such a deal cannot play for his country during his contract period.

Can he play domestic cricket for his country and for his English club?

Yes, he can. But only in the English off season. Which means, English county should be his first priority.

Can a player come back to for his country again?

Yes. Once his contract with the English County team expires or terminated, he can play for his country. Example: Jacques Rudolph signed a Kolpak deal with Yorkshire in 2007 after being dropped from the South African team in 2006. He was released from it in 2010 and played again for South Africa in 2011.

Can a player play for England?

Kolpak players over 18 do not qualify to play for England till they have played seven years for a county and have gained citizenship. This was increased from four years in 2012.

How does players born in other countries play for England?

Players like Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott played for England not through Kolpak deals, but because one of their parents or grandparents was English.

Why South African players preferring English county over their national team?

Recently introduced, the Racial Quota System is the main reason why South African players are giving up their international cricket and preferring English season. According to the quota system, maximum 5 white players can be a part of playing XI in the international game. Also, players will get more compared to their international commitments in countries like South Africa.

What are the drawbacks?


The countries such as South Africa are losing their players at both international and domestic levels. For England, fewer English-born or England-qualified players get the chance to play county cricket.

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