Whilst spending a damp and wet Saturday afternoon in the Kerr Clubhouse drinking tea and watching my young toddler, I tuned into some exciting Pepsi Indian Premier League (IPL) action which was beamed live from Hyderabad in India. During the fast-paced match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and favourites of mine, Rajasthan Royals, I quickly began to notice the high number of Brits and Australians involved with the IPL, both in playing and commentating roles.
Given the nature of competitive sports at that level and the commercial interests involved, I am not sure why I was so surprised about how many "foreigners" are involved in the crowd-pulling IPL, a league that has really taken off. The one thing I was sure of is that in a bid to attract the best global talent to the League, the Indian authorities would not be placing an unduly onerous burden on the IPL clubs recruiting talent from outwith India. With the rising popularity of the Indian league, I thought I wold briefly look at how UK clubs would go about recruiting some of the Indian 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 the player from either the ECB or Cricket Scotland stating:
- The player is internationally established as a player or coach at the highest level, and
- He/she will make a significant contribution to the development of the sport at the highest level in the UK; and
- 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. This is only a very short overview of the process that will hopefully have left readers as one day specialists in immigration law, though in order to avoid being caught out or stumped by the complexity of the immigration rules, clubs are encouraged to contact Morton Fraser if they require further information or assistance as to the boundaries of the recruitment of players from abroad.