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Last Updated: Friday, 9 April, 2004, 08:24 GMT 09:24 UK
ECB 'can stop foreign influx'
England's cricketers union believes a funding change could help stop counties fielding extra foreign players.

An estimated 22 foreign cricketers in 2003 did not count as overseas players.

"The counties have to be made aware of their responsibility for developing England qualified players," said PCA chief executive Richard Bevan.

"One way forward is incentivising the grant they distribute to the counties based on the number of England players they are fielding."

Leicestershire last month took advantage of the controversial "Kolpak ruling" to sign former South Africa spinner Claude Henderson.

PCA chief Richard Bevan
The real issue is the number of non-England players
Richard Bevan
After a European Court challenge, Slovakian handball player Maros Kolpak won the right to play in Germany without being classed as a foreigner

The effects have been felt in several other sports, with European Union law protecting any worker from the EU and from countries, like South Africa, with associate agreements.

But Bevan said the problem was "not all about Kolpak", adding, "The real issue is the number of non-England players."

Bevan believes the England and Wales Cricket Board is already looking into ways of altering its funding structure, which currently hands each county around 1.3m per year.

"I don't think this would be illegal under EU law," he said.

"It would just be a way of recognising the work some counties do in developing youngsters who could possibly be selected for England."

Worst offenders are Derbyshire, who boast six "passport professionals".

Director of cricket David Houghton told BBC Sport: "It's not for me to dictate policy on who's qualified to play as an Englishman and who isn't."

"I just pick those who are available and try to do the best job I can."

Henderson set for new start
30 Mar 04  |  Leicestershire
Leics announce new signings
26 Mar 04  |  Leicestershire

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