Free Shahid Afridi

I don’t like or care much for Shahid Afridi, but I think every person has the right to freely practice his trade. For those not following this latest dispute between the Pakistan Cricket Board and its players, here’s the skinny: the PCB removed Afridi as Pakistan’s ODI captain. Afridi retired in protest. He then criticized the PCB on television. The PCB then canceled Afridi’s central contract and revoked his No-Objection-Certificate (NOC).

Until that last step, I confess I did not care much about this story. But the NOC — a curious subcontinental legal term — determines if Afridi will be able to play for Hampshire or not, making the PCB’s move especially cruel and vindictive. Afridi now has some lawyers on the case, who are arguing for a hearing on the NOC. They say it’s a simple case of natural justice, and I agree — every agency’s decision should be open to appeal or a hearing.

So, here are some questions: 1) How pervasive is the use/revocation of the NOC? It seems like such a bureaucratic hassle, but I could not find definitive information from Google. 2) What is to stop a cricket board from simply revoking the NOC every time it is angry with a particular player? (See here for an excerpt of the ICC’s NOC rules.)

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3 thoughts on “Free Shahid Afridi

  1. Russ says:

    Afridi is arguing in the wrong court I reckon. As I said in my article the other day, I’d be astounded if a NOC is legally enforceable in England. Given Afridi had a contract in England already, and no contract with Pakistan that might be relevant, it is a restraint of trade to refuse him employment in collusion with another board. Am really hoping Afridi fights this to be honest. I like seeing players beat administrators.

    • But didn’t some Hampshire team official tell Cricinfo that Afridi could not, in fact, play without a PCB NoC?

      • Russ says:

        The ECB said he couldn’t play without a NOC. The question is whether that is legal given Hampshire want him to play, the ECB is merely following a PCB directive. One obviously in the ECB’s and probably Hampshire’s interest, because it stops players ditching England for the IPL et al. If Afridi challenged the legality of the NOC requirement in court he’d have a reasonable case – though obviously the ECB has taken a legal opinion over their right to restrict uncontracted cricketer’s employment options.

        This is worth reading, as is this blast from cricketing past. Administrators dudding players “for the good of the game”, is nothing new. More often than not, administrators lose in court.

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