working for the Indian Cricket League are believed to be preparing the
ground to file lawsuits against the ECB, following yesterday's news that
five ICL players were
refused registration by the England board.
five players - Justin Kemp, Hamish Marshall, Johan van der Wath, Wavell
Hinds and Andrew Hall - were all refused by a rule which requires
non-England players not to have played for their home countries in the
past 12 months. The ECB seem confident that they are on a firm legal
footing but, privately, the ICL believe they have a very strong case for
a 'restraint of trade' suit.
clients are taking this extremely seriously," a lawyer representing
the ICL told the Daily Telegraph, "and we will be supporting
them. They find themselves in a nightmare situation where they have
signed a contract with the counties in good faith and now they are not
allowed to play."
counties themselves are unlikely to take action against the ECB; most
have seen this situation coming for months. The worst situation for all,
though, is if the players take action against the counties themselves;
if the counties lose, the ECB would have to bail them out. Where this
leaves the likes of Marshall, who turned his back on New Zealand and is
now effectively unemployed, is unclear.
five players won't be the last; the ECB are expecting another raft of
applications which will only intensify the pressure on both the counties
and the board, not to mention increase the ICL's belief that their legal
case for action is solid. The Professional Cricketers Assocation (PCA) announced
two weeks ago that it would step in to help the players better
understand the muddle, and would conduct meetings with all the counties
before the start of the season.
position hasn't changed from two weeks ago when we made our last
statement," Jason Ratcliffe, the PCA's assistant chief executive,
told Cricinfo today, adding that the meetings had yet to be concluded.