South Africa would welcome back Kolpak players: CSA director Graeme Smith

With Kolpak coming to an end, I guess the willingness is always to have our best players in the system, says CSA director Graeme Smith. Photo: wikipedia
Graeme Smith  Cricket South Africa director and former captain, has said the country will welcome back former Kolpak players willing to be part of the domestic structure, considering it as an option to strengthen the national team.


Kolpak registrations, which give sportsmen from countries with associate trade agreements with the European Union the same rights as EU workers, are set to be terminated at end of 2020 following the UK's exit from the EU.


Dozens of South African cricketers have signed lucrative contracts with county cricket sides over the years but this automatically disqualifies them from playing for the national team.


"With Kolpak coming to an end, I guess the willingness is always to have our best players in the system. It is up to the players to come back into the system and to make decisions on their careers," Smith, who was recently appointed as Director of Cricket by his Board, said. 

What is Kolpak rule?


Under the Kolpak rule, citizens of European Union countries are allowed to work or play in any other EU country. The European Union Association Agreements, which are free trade treaties between the EU and other countries, also have the same terms. So, South African players can play county cricket in England under the Cotonou Agreement with the EU and not be available for inclusion in the national team until the expiry of their county agreement. However, the Kolpak deals will become invalid, which is due to happen when the UK leaves the European Union at the end of this year, the cricketers will continue to play in England as an overseas professional.


South African players like Kyle Abott, Morne Morkel, Simon Harmer, Wayne Parnell, Rilee Roussow and Duanne Olivier have preferred county cricket to playing domestic cricket in South Africa and inclusion in the national side while Dane Paterson, who played two Tests against England in January, is the latest to do so. The rationale is that domestic cricket does not promise a good pay and the chance of making it to the playing 11 in the national side is not assured.

 "From our perspective, we want to encourage all our best players to play here domestically, and then give themselves the opportunity to be selected for the national side," he was quoted as saying in 'Sky Sports'.



"We don't ever want to exclude players from being part of our system and we understand that the landscape of the world game is very different now to what it was," Smith said.


"Open minds and how we look at these things is going to be key to how we keep our best players how we keep them motivated and in our game.

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