Proposal on overseas ban agreed by Alliance clubs

The Norfolk Cricket Alliance has agreed on a proposal to limit the number of overseas players operating in the league.

At a packed Alliance end of season meeting at Swardeston on Wednesday, club representatives confirmed they would like action to be taken and were asked to vote for their preferred option from three alternatives:

• A ban on overseas players in all divisions

• A ban on overseas players in Divisions One to Six

• A ban on overseas players in Divisions Four to Six

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Confusion reigned briefly at the meeting as league officials struggled to explain the voting process, but eventually members voted in favour of the second option, banning overseas players in all divisions except the Premier Division. That proposal will now be carried forward to the Alliance AGM in February.

The ban would apply to category three players, ie those who are not qualified to play for England or who are not ordinarily resident in the UK.

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Earlier, Alliance chairman John Tythcott had urged members to make a 'considered decision and not a knee-jerk reaction', while the Norfolk Cricket Board's cricket development manager Kieron Tuck read a prepared statement outlining the legal issues surrounding the proposed ban. Tuck explained that, having sought advice from the England and Wales Cricket Board, an outright ban on all overseas players was not legal because the Alliance technically allows contracted and paid players. The ban could only apply to category three players, he added.

He went on to give the board's view of the situation, saying: 'The Norfolk Cricket Board believes that overseas players should not play at a level where they tend to dominate a match to the detriment of others' enjoyment and the opportunity of others to develop. Therefore the board supports the engagement of overseas players in the East Anglian Premier League.

'The board also believes that, although the arguments are much more finely balanced, there is a case for them to play in the Premier and, possibly, first divisions of the Alliance. Below that level, the board considers that the engagement of overseas players is not justified.

'In addition, the board considers that it is essential that overseas players engaged by clubs in the county make positive contributions to off-field activities, for example through coaching.'

Speaking after the meeting, Tythcott said he was not surprised by the outcome: 'If that is the wish of the majority of our membership, then that is the way it is,' he said. 'We have had sufficient correspondence from various members of the league to suggest that this would be the decision they reached.'

He said the Alliance's management committee would now discuss a further proposal from the meeting that all incoming overseas players should hold the miminum of a Level Two coaching qualification.

Also raised at Wednesday's meeting was the reshuffle required following Fakenham's relegation from the EAPL to the Alliance. Tythcott admitted that accommodating an extra team was a 'worst case scenario' for the Alliance.

He said precedent suggested that only the teams finishing top of their divisions would now be promoted, with two teams in each division relegated, although the matter will be discussed further at a meeting on October 11. The possibility of playing with 11 teams in the Premier Division will also be discussed at that meeting.

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