County Championship 2021 – Brexit paperwork delay leaves Graeme van Buuren in Gloucestershire limbo

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Allrounder left out of Championship clash with Hampshire after losing non-overseas status

Graeme van Buuren, the South African-born allrounder, has been ruled out of Gloucestershire’s County Championship fixture against Hampshire after the complications of Brexit lost him his status as a non-overseas player.

Van Buuren, 30, was born in Pretoria and played for Northerns and Titans in South Africa early in his career. He has been playing for Gloucestershire as a local player since 2016 through his wife’s British passport, and has become a first-team regular in all formats.

However, the UK’s departure from the European Union led to a change in the ECB’s eligibility and registration regulations on December 31, 2020. In September, Alan Fordham, the operations manager for first-class cricket, wrote to the counties outlining the changes, including the removal of “the rights of so-called ‘Kolpak’ players to be registered as a ‘qualified cricketer'” and the cancellation of the registrations of players qualifying as locals through EU passports or family or ancestral visas, unless they had evidence of having settled or pre-settled status under the government’s settlement scheme.

In van Buuren’s case, he had applied for indefinite leave to remain in the UK as a pathway to British citizenship, but delays in processing his paperwork have left him in a state of limbo. As a result, he has only been able to play as an overseas player, and with Daniel Worrall and Kraigg Brathwaite filling Gloucestershire’s two permitted spots in their fixture against Hampshire this week, van Buuren has been left out of the side, two weeks after hitting a match-winning 110 not out off 98 balls against Surrey.

It is understood that van Buuren would have been able to apply for indefinite leave to remain through a fast-tracked service, but the logistical complications caused by Covid-19 have taken that option away from him.