With the start of the league season less than three months away, officials across our league are hastily checking their
imports’ positions as they come to terms with new rules which should see a considerable reduction in the number of
cricketers from other countries spending the summer in England.
While bona fide professional players who satisfy the conditions for a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative and
Sporting) visa should encounter no problems, cricketers classified as professional by the Home Office may be refused
entry if they seek to enter the UK using a Standard Visitor visa.
This follows the withdrawal of the Sports Visitor visa and it means that club officials should study the criteria
by which professionals are defined very carefully over the next week or two.
Put at its simplest, the Home Office definition of a professional is someone who, whether paid or unpaid, is providing
services at a professional or semi-professional level, or someone who derives a living from playing or coaching, has
done so in the past, or seeks in the future to do so.
An amateur, according to the Home Office’s definition is “a person who engages in a sport...solely for personal
enjoyment and who is not seeking to derive a living from the activity.” In the past cricketers have once been paid to play
the game have entered the UK to represent clubs without being paid and it is this group of players who may fall foul
of the new rules.
Liverpool Competition chairman, John Williams, did not seek to minimise the impact of the changes.
“Clubs and Leagues received an indication of the tightening up of the issuing of visas in September, following the
withdrawal of the Sports Visitor Visa last year,” he said. “We have now received further guidance from the ECB
outlining the Home Office’s rules in respect of professionals and amateurs and setting out visa entry requirements.
“This will clearly have an impact on cricket clubs throughout the country and the Liverpool Competition is no exception.
Fully endorsed professional players with the requisite number of first class matches seem to be unaffected but our
guidance to clubs in respect of players entering under Standard Visitor or Youth Mobility visas is to read the rules and
regulations carefully and if necessary seek guidance from the Home Office”.
* Further details about the new regulations are available on the Club Notice Board of this website.