Given the nature of competition at that level and the commercial interests involved,it is no surprise that so many "foreigners" are involved in the crowd-pulling Pepsi Indian Premier League (IPL). In a bid to attract the best global talent to the League, the Indian authorities have chosen against placing an unduly onerous burden on the number of international players which can participate. With the rising popularity of the IPL, it is worth examining how UK clubs would go about recruiting some of the Indian cricket stars to play in the UK.
The first step is for a club to obtain a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) sponsorship licence from the UK Border Agency. This is necessary for any club who wants to be able to hire players from almost all of the cricket-playing nations (such as Pakistan, India, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Australia etc). Obtaining a licence ought to be a relatively straightforward process, and once the licence is in place the club will be able to sponsor the player as long as they obtain an endorsement for them from either the ECB or Cricket Scotland stating:
- The player is internationally established as a player or coach at the highest level;
- He/she will make a significant contribution to the development of the sport at the highest level in the UK;
- He/she intends to be based in the UK for the duration of their permission to stay; and
- The post could not be filled by a suitable settled worker.
The key point to note is that although sports immigration can sometimes be seen in a bad light, the UK system is not particularly backward nor does it require too much fancy footwork to gain good results.