Immigration – English sport is a mirror of English society

 Sport  holds up a mirror to any society.  Sadly,  English  sport  today shares  the ills of English society at large. Due to the actions of the British  elite  professional  team sport in England  has  been  heavily infiltrated  by   foreign players just as the country has a  whole  has been left open to de facto foreign colonisation.  

 Cricket  was  the  first  to fall prey to  the  disease.  In  1969  the qualification  rules  for foreign players appearing in  county  cricket were effectively thrown away.  Before 1969 any foreign player  had   to qualify by two years residence in the county:  after 1969 they could be specially registered without any qualifying period.

 Since 1969 there have been various attempts to stem the number  foreign players.   Official overseas players – those not qualified to play  for England by any route  –  have been at various times  restricted to  two per   county side,  then one per side before reverting back to two  per side,  which is the situation in 2006.  

In the past few years  the number of  foreign players in county cricket has   been greatly expanded by  a  ruling  that any EU  state  national must be allowed to play in county cricket whether  England qualified or not – this has resulted in many Australians and South Africans claiming EU  state passports of one sort or another.   The final breach  in  the sporting  emigration  wall has been  the granting of  the  same  rights possessed  by   EU state  passport holders to  people   from  countries which  have  treaties  with the EU that   allow  them  certain  trading rights.

This   loosening  of immigration rules  applies  to all  other  sports, many  of  which   are even more vulnerable  to  invasion  than  cricket because cricket is not played seriously on the continent.  Football and rugby  are  played within the EU and both games in  England  have  been substantially  colonised by continentals.  The situation with  football has  become  especially  serious  with well over  half  the  places  in Premiership  sides being filled by players not qualified  for  England. Following England’s exit from the 2006 World Cup the ex-England manager Graham  Taylor  voiced his fears that   England might never  again  win the World Cup simply because of the lack of opportunity being given  to English players (BBC R5 Victoria Derbyshire 7 7 2006).   Such fears have grown in  intensity since with another World Cup failure in 2010.

The  other  side  of the foreign infiltration coin  is  the  widespread employment  of  those  who are not unequivocally  English  in   English national teams. These people fall into two camps: (1) those who came to England  as adults  and  (2) ethnic minority players  either  born  and raised in England or at least largely raised here.    Their  employmentby  England  has  been generally a failure,  both  in  terms  of  their individual  performances  and in the performance  of  their  respective England teams. 

Take  the  two major English team sports cricket and football.  Of  the  questionable  players  who have finished their Test careers  of and  played a substantial amount of cricket for England since 1980 only (Robin Smith) has managed a Test batting average of 40 and only two  of the bowlers has a Test bowling average of less than 30.

As  for  football,  the only players in the  immigrant/ethnic  minority category   to show themselves to be of true international standard  are probably Paul Ince and Des Walker.  It is difficult to see the sporting justification   for  the repeated and extensive selection  of   players such  as  Mark Ramprakash (lowest every batting  average – 27 –  for  a front  line England batsman who has played my than 40 Tests)   or  John Barnes  (79  England caps and a man who rarely if ever  reproduced  his club  form  for  England).  

Perhaps  the  answer  lies  in   political correctness,  a  desire on the part of selectors  to  guard  themselves against  accusations of racism or simply an ideological  commitment  to multiculturalism.   Here is Stephen Wagg writing in Catalyst, the old CRE’s   propaganda magazine funded by the taxpayer:  “…it is  important that  this  team [the England cricket side] speaks for  a  multi-ethnic England.” (Racism and the English cricket party – Catalyst June 2006).    

There is also the attitude of the players  consider. Some  of those who have  played for England have been blunt about  their attitude  towards turning out for the side.   Here  is  ex-England captain Nasser Hussain interviewed by Rob Steen:

  ‘If anyone asks about my nationality, I’m proud  to say ‘Indian’,  but I’ve never given any thought  to  playing  for  India.   In  cricketing terms I’m  English.’ Daily Telegraph 11 8 1989   

 Or  take the black Jamaican England footballer John Barnes writing  in his autobiography:

 “I    am  fortunate my England career is now  complete  so   I    don’t have to sound patriotic  any  more.” (P69)

 “I     feel    more   Jamaican    than     English     because   I’m  black.   A  lot  of black  people born    in    England    feel   more Jamaican  than English because  they  are   not  accepted     in    the land of  their  birth  on account of their  colour, (P 71)

 Clearly such mentalities exclude any emotional commitment to doing well for  the sake of English pride.  The most they could have been  playing for was their own ambition.  As the editor of Wisden Matthew Engel  put it:

 “It  cannot  be  irrelevant  to  England’s  long  term  failures   that  to   many   of   their   recent  Test   players   were   either    born   overseas    and/or  spent  their  formative  years  as   citizens    of   other   countries.   In  the  heat  of  Test  cricket,   there   is   a   difference  between  a  cohesive  team  with  a  common  goal,   and  a  coalition    of   individuals   whose   major   ambitions    are    for themselves…There    is  a  vast  difference  between    wanting    to  play   Test   cricket   and  wanting  to   play   Test   cricket    for   England.” (Editor’s notes 1995 Wisden).

 In  the  1990s an England cricket eleven was  routinely   comprised  of something  like  five white Englishmen, two Southern Africans,   a  New Zealander  and three West Indians.  The idea that their  captain  could appeal to their patriotism as a team of Englishmen is risible. It is difficult to see how  any English man or woman could have seen  it  as  their national side.

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