Thu, Aug 20, 2009 - Page 18 News List

Six Crusaders stars to be deported

AFP , LONDON

Super League club Celtic Crusaders have seen their squad decimated after six Australian players were ordered to leave the country over visa breaches.

Crusaders captain Jace Van Dijk and fellow Australian teammates Tony Duggan, Damien Quinn, Josh Hannay, Darren Mapp and Mark Dalle-Court are to be deported after immigration officials ruled they breached visa regulations.

A UK Border Agency statement said: “As the result of an intelligence-led investigation into possible immigration offenses among players at Celtic Crusaders, we can confirm that six Australian nationals have been served with papers confirming that they are illegally present in the UK.

“We now expect these individuals to leave the country. If they refuse to do so voluntarily, we will enforce their removal,” it said. “The players are prohibited from working in the UK with immediate effect.”

The six players were given until Sept. 7 to leave the country but the club immediately took the step of canceling their contracts.

The players are all banned from re-entering the UK for 10 years and, although they have the right of appeal, they can only do so after leaving the country.

“Celtic Crusaders have cooperated fully with the UK Border Agency’s investigation and we will abide by their findings,” Crusaders chief executive Mike Turner said.

“We are sorry to be losing players who have made a big contribution in making Celtic Crusaders a Super League club. This situation does, however, provide us with an ideal opportunity to give some Welsh youngsters valuable first team action for our final three games of the season, starting this Saturday when we play Leeds Rhinos in Newport.”

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