Clubs warned about the issue of registering ‘category three’ players

PUBLISHED: 13:57 20 January 2018

Picture: Matt Smart

Picture: Matt Smart

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Player registration in the Tolchards Devon League is going on-line for the season ahead, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.

Player registration in the Tolchards Devon League is going on-line for the season ahead, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.

On the way out are registration forms, late-night faxes and numerous phone calls chasing up missing or illegible information. Coming in is on-line registration through the league’s Play-Cricket web site.The leagu e management consulted registration secretary Paul Mitchell and Play-Cricket administrator Dennis White before reaching the decision to go on–line. Mitchell said clubs have already started registering players on-line for the 2018 season. “I was expecting the process to drag on but have be buoyed by the number of clubs that have started and finished their own registrations together with all the positive feedback,” said Mitchell.

“Yes, remain a number of clubs yet to start the process. Hopefully, they will start soon and as soon as they do start they will see the benefits.”

The Tolchards Devon League is going ‘all-through’ this season having abandoned separate 1st and 2nd XI competitions in favour of merging 2nd XIs into the regionalised divisions from the C Division down. Previously, 2nd XI players did not have to be registered with the league to play. One of the all-through implications is that registration is compulsory from top to bottom.

Said Mitchell: “With the new all-through league coming into play, and with the ruling all players have to be registered, it felt right to make the change now rather than wait.

“The new system removes the paper trail for both registrations and transfers, which can be a logistical and time-consuming burden.

The club’s own Play-Cricket administrator will register the player - the majority will already be set-up on the clubs own play-cricket site as results have been recorded using the site - by requesting league registration.

“As soon as that request is made, the information is transmitted to the league’s own Play-Cricket page for me to approve.

“A help list has already been sent out to all clubs.”

Clubs registering overseas players under the ECB’s category three classification still have to provide additional information before the player will be allowed to play.

Managed migration rules have been updated and Mitchell has warned clubs category three registrations will be scruitinised by the league, the ECB and potentially the Home Office to ensure they are eligible to play.

“When a club registers a category three player they will still have to provide me with a copy of passport and visa as I have an obligation as league registration secretary to provide the ECB with a list of all category three players.”

Mitchell said clubs would be unwise to assume their category three players will go through on the nod now the rules on managed migration have been agreed by the ECB and the Home Office.

“Clubs will find it harder than ever to engage the services of an overseas player in 2018 and the penalties of up to £20,000 will make all clubs seriously think twice,” said Mitchell.

“In 2017 a few clubs around the country were fined for breaching the rules. Some clubs, including Devon League clubs, received letters of warning.”

Mitchell said clubs could save themselves a future headache by reading the Home Office Immigration Rules for Cricket Overview on the ECB website.

“For example the paying of player’s flights and accommodation and the use of an agent is likely to increase the prospect of the Home Office considering that player as a professional. As a consequence, the risk of the player being deemed ineligible to participate in accredited ECB leagues.

“It is certainly not an ideal situation for many, but the ECB are under pressure from the Home Office who, likewise, are under pressure from politicians to reduce migration numbers.”

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