Overseas professionals have been given the go-ahead to play in next year's Bob Kerr Irish Senior Cup.
The Cricket Committee of the Irish Cricket Union last month made the recommendation for their return and the Management Committee has agreed with the proposal, so every registered player will be able to take part in the only All-Ireland club competition next season.
It is 11 years since professionals have been allowed in the Irish Cup, Brigade's Pakistan Test player Akram Raza scoring 67 against Leinster to help win the final in 1996. They were subsequently banned from the competition because each of the three major unions allow professionals of a different standard. The North West union was, and is, the only area which can employ Test players.
Meanwhile, the new ICU Board will consist of 11 members, six of them nominated by the provincial unions.
The Leinster and Northern unions will each supply two members, and there will be one each from Munster and the North West.
There will be four external directors, based on specified skills and experiences to be identified by a Nominations Committee. The remaining post will be filled by the incoming chairman, David Williams.
The new board replaces the existing executive and management committees and the next, and last ICU executive meeting, on December 9, will set a date for an EGM when the existing business will be closed with a view to incorporation on February 1.
The first ICU board meeting will take place shortly afterwards and the inaugural annual meeting of the new company will take place in March.
Current ICU chairman Dr Murray Power said yesterday: "I'm delighted with the progress we are making, and with the level of consensus that has been achieved about the shape of our future governance arrangements. We are well on course to meet our target of having the new Board up and running before the start of the 2008 season."
÷ ROGER Whelan yesterday announced he was quitting the game, at the age of 27.
The Railway Union pace bowler, who played three times for Ireland, this year, said he could not give the commitment required to hold down a place in the international team. He took one wicket in each of his Irish games, including the prize scalp of India's Sachin Tendulkar in the ODI at Stormont in June.
Whelan also confirmed he is giving up club cricket as well.