HAVING recently taken on the role as registration secretary for the Devon Cricket League it has come to light that there is a major issue with regard to the signing of certain cricketers from outside the UK/EEA.
I have therefore sent a document that provides all the rules and regulations that need to be addressed when signing an overseas cricketer and I urge all recipients and in particular all club chairmen (the buck stops with the chairman) to digest and act accordingly.
The main issue is that of players who have or are looking to obtain a Standard Visitor Visa or a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme Visa.
The information provided below has been taken from the attached document and needs careful consideration before registering a player. Please pay particular attention to the 'Player Pathway' definition as any person that has played cricket above U17 at state / province / territory level (paid or unpaid) may be considered a 'Professional Sportsperson'.
As the registration secretary I am willing to help every club as much as possible but would suggest that if you are planning on signing a person that maybe considered to be on a 'Pathway' your first action is to seek written approval from the Home Office that the player disclosed all relevant information on their visa application and has been deemed an amateur by the Home Office. There is an Enquiry Bureau Helpline - 0300 123 4699.
Home Office definition of Professional vs Amateur:
Paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules set out the definitions for an amateur and a professional sportsperson:
An “Amateur” is a person who engages in a sport or creative activity solely for personal enjoyment and who is not seeking to derive a living from the activity. This also includes a person playing or coaching in a charity game.
A “Professional Sportsperson”, is someone, whether paid or unpaid, who : is providing services as a sportsperson, playing or coaching in any capacity, at a professional or semi-professional level of sport; or being a person who currently derives, who has in the past derived or seeks in the future to derive, a living from playing or coaching, is providing services as a sportsperson or coach at any level of sport, unless they are doing so as an “Amateur”.
Deriving a living is defined as receiving payment for playing cricket and does not need to be the sole earnings.
A person may also be considered as “seeking to derive a living” if they have played as part of a player pathway**.
** Player “Pathway”: A player may be considered to be on a “Pathway” and therefore classified as a “Professional Sportsperson”, if that person has played cricket above U17 at state/ province/ territory level (paid or unpaid) in any country.
Responsibility of Clubs:
Clubs wishing to use the services of a player who is in the UK, but not on a Tier 5 Creative & Sporting (Non FCC) visa, must ensure that the visa the person has, allows them to play and/or coach.
They must make their own checks, and not solely rely on information that Agents provide them.
Sources of support:
ECB Managed Migration website – https://www.ecb.co.uk/governance/regulations/governing-body-endorsement
Home Office website – https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/home-office
Sponsor & Employer Enquiries: 0300 123 4699 or BusinessHelpdesk@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
Sanctions and Penalties
If any club found to be playing an individual who is in breach of their visa the process is to:
Inform the Home Office of the breach
Recommend to the club that they no longer use the player
Inform the league and request that they take the appropriate action as per the league rules
The same process will apply if a player, in breach of the visa rules, was denied registration in one league to be found registered in another.
“Employment” can be paid or unpaid.
In cricket, the club Chairman holds the legal responsibility for all activities in the club and is therefore the “Employer”
An employer who has not carried out the correct checks or chooses to ignore the requirements
Faces a penalty of up to £20,000
The individual concerned could be stopped from entering the UK or deported
If the club holds a current Tier 5 Sponsor License they can expect this to be withdrawn
Paul Mitchell - Registrations Officer
Tolchards Devon Cricket League