ICL lawyers prepare case for 'restraint of trade' March 21, 2008

ECB braced for legal action

Cricinfo staff

Justin Kemp could be heading for the courts © AFP

Lawyers 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.

The 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.

"Our 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."

The 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.

These 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.

"Our 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.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Masud on March 22, 2008, 11:17 GMT

    Good to see people supporting ICL.If ICL does not win the case then players like Kemp, Marshall, van der Wath who are still young enogh to play will be in deep trouble as they wont be able to appear on their domestic circuit or the English county. They will go jobless.

  • prakash on March 22, 2008, 8:37 GMT

    BCCI should not consider themselves as boss of world cricket. We majority Indians, first were against ICL. But after watching the contest, we are really happy to see the the talented youngsters, who were really sidelined by BCCI, performing very well. ICL must be recoganized by the ICC without hesitation. They should not bow the head to BCCI.

  • Syed on March 22, 2008, 6:09 GMT

    The BCCI are a power crazy and an egotistic lot. I am an indian and feel very embarassed to see the BCCI using its money to get what it wants even if it means the downfall of already weak teams like WI and NZ. Shame on them. The pockets of BCCI have grown deeper and deeper over the last decade and it has made them greedy for more. Demanding the whole world to ban players who appear in a league that competes with their own league is ridiculous. This is the era of open market and this sort of behaviour is completely unacceptable. It is a surprise to me that all boards are pandering to its wishes, especially ENG and AUS who are fairly well off financially. With the BCCI playing hardball, this issue can be settled only in the courts. And anyway this league concept is very new to the indian public. Not many chennaiites would care if chennai wins or loses against mumbai. It would be a flop initally, i am sure. But with time, attitudes can change.

  • Wessels on March 22, 2008, 1:34 GMT

    I think this is more a restriction on counties simply stocking up on Kolpaks, with ICL undertones. It would be interesting to see what happens to other "Kolpak" players who did not join the ICL. eg. Charl Langeveldt. Should he decide to retire from international cricket after this whole quota thing. Would he be allowed to play county cricket as a Kolpak, having played for SA in the last 12 months? What about Shaun Pollock, does he qualify?

    To Star_2007: The ICL plans big expansions, it's only a matter of time before programs clash. Premier League footballers don't play for different clubs and leagues as they please...why should cricketers?

  • naresh on March 21, 2008, 18:24 GMT

    All this fuss about ICL and the IPL is purely an act of ignorance. What actually is the difference between the two. Both play a stupid form of the game and both are playing purely for monetary reasons. Actually both should be banned or else both should be given a full license. See how damage it creates. Moreover the viewing population will get fed up of watching it again and again and it will sooner than later just wear down all the idiotic enthusiasm it has so far created.

  • Rachit on March 21, 2008, 17:36 GMT

    The ECB should lose this case and all the ICL players should get together and sue their respective boards. Its not the ICL that should be banned but the BCCI for coming up with such garbage that is destroying cricket. As a protest, I am not going to be watching any IPL games even though it will be featuring a lot of star players. I hope the IPL falls flat on its face.

  • Devika on March 21, 2008, 17:34 GMT

    I hope ICL win the case. Banning these players from earning a little extra money, during a period which does not clash with County Cricket, is ridiculous. Looks like the ECB simply gave in to the demands of the BCCI.

  • SACHIN on March 21, 2008, 17:07 GMT

    ICL will prevail for sure. It's unfortunate that they have to put up with all this nonsense. ICL's case is pretty strong in this context.

  • bhabuk on March 21, 2008, 17:00 GMT

    well its really heart breaking for all the cricket lovers round the globe. the cricket boards are rellly getting harsh towards these players and i think the valuable contribution of the great players like inzi,lara towards this game is being deteriorated.

  • Saad on March 21, 2008, 16:57 GMT

    I hope the ICL gives them hell!!! Work their way to the BCCI and eventually the ICC.

    This is nonsense... screwing with players bread and butter...

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