RCB captain Faf du Plessis speaks about his Kolpak journey at the RCB Podcast

Did you know that Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers played for South Africa’s Under 19 team at the same time? Yes, Faf and AB were a part of the South African Team way back in 2003. However, AB was selected for the national team in 2004 whereas Faf had to wait till 2011 to make his debut. 

Faf was doing well in domestic cricket but was not being called to the national team despite that. Thus, Faf signed a Kolpak deal. Recently, speaking at  RCB’s Podcast, Faf revealed how he got the contracts, and how it ended. 

What is a Kolpak deal? 

A Kolpak deal is an agreement between a cricket player from another country and a county cricket club in England. The agreement allows the player to be treated as a local player, rather than an overseas player, and therefore not take up one of the club’s limited number of overseas player spots.

The Kolpak ruling was named after the Slovakian handball player Maros Kolpak, who won a landmark case in the European Court of Justice in 2003. The ruling allowed citizens of countries that have signed European Union (EU) association agreements to work in other EU countries without being considered foreign workers.

In cricket, the Kolpak deal is typically offered to players from countries such as South Africa, Zimbabwe, and the Caribbean, who are not eligible to play for England but still want to play professional cricket in the country. The deal usually lasts for a specific number of years, during which time the player is considered a local player and not subject to the restrictions placed on overseas players.

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Did you know that Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers played for South Africa’s Under 19 team at the same time? Yes, Faf and AB were a part of the South African Team way back in 2003. However, AB was selected for the national team in 2004 whereas Faf had to wait till 2011 to make his debut. 

Faf was doing well in domestic cricket but was not being called to the national team despite that. Thus, Faf signed a Kolpak deal. Recently, speaking at  RCB’s Podcast, Faf revealed how he got the contracts, and how it ended. 

What is a Kolpak deal? 

A Kolpak deal is an agreement between a cricket player from another country and a county cricket club in England. The agreement allows the player to be treated as a local player, rather than an overseas player, and therefore not take up one of the club's limited number of overseas player spots.

The Kolpak ruling was named after the Slovakian handball player Maros Kolpak, who won a landmark case in the European Court of Justice in 2003. The ruling allowed citizens of countries that have signed European Union (EU) association agreements to work in other EU countries without being considered foreign workers.

In cricket, the Kolpak deal is typically offered to players from countries such as South Africa, Zimbabwe, and the Caribbean, who are not eligible to play for England but still want to play professional cricket in the country. The deal usually lasts for a specific number of years, during which time the player is considered a local player and not subject to the restrictions placed on overseas players.

Faf’s Kolpak journey

Faf went on to tell his story of getting the Kolpak deal. The former South Africa captain was getting around $2000 per year in his first year. However, when a Kolpak deal came knocking at his door, he was offered a whopping sum of 45000 pounds. “As a young kid, I was going whoa, this is good money, this is what professional cricket is all about.”, said Faf during the podcast. 

However, the deal would have barred him from playing for South Africa for the time period of the contract. Faf stated that this particular aspect of the Kolpak deal almost made him deny signing the contract as his desire to play for South Africa was bigger than anything else in the world. “If you signed the Kolpak back then, you become a local in the country. You do for a period say I can’t be selected for South Africa because I am not a local in South Africa anymore.”, Faf added. 

Faf had to consider a lot of factors before being able to convince him to sign the Kolpak. His ultimate goal was to play for South Africa but that was not coming along. On that note, the Kolpak came as a way of not just earning good money, but also as a means to showcase his talent and better his  South Africa Chances. So, Faf signed a one-year deal for the English club Lancashire. “So, I signed a one-year deal with them. After that one-year deal, they offered me a three-year deal. But I said guys I’ll do another year.”, Faf told the club when they decided to extend his contract. 

However, that year, the terms of the Kolpak contract were changed by the ECB. The new rules prescribed that a player had to play a certain number of international matches in order to be considered for a Kolpak contract. Since Faf was yet to make his international debut, he no longer qualified to be a Kolpak. His contract was thus declared null and void and he returned to South Africa after that.  

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