BRITISH SPEEDWAY IN VISA CRISIS
British speedway could be forced to start the season without a host of its Australian and American riders.
22 / 01 / 2015, 12:07
British speedway could be forced to start the season without a host of its Australian and American riders as clubs work with UK Visas and Immigration to resolve a number of “administrative issues.”
The BSPA has confirmed that UKVI will be holding an “operational workshop” for teams employing non-EU riders.
According to a letter from Scunthorpe signing Alex Davies, posted on the Scorpions official website, a number of promoters have been asked to attend classes by UKVI to ensure they “are up to speed with the criteria required to retain their sponsorship licences.”
The UKVI have assured us they will work with us with the aim of ensuring all eligible riders are able to compete in the 2015 season.
Davies’ letter states that “no Australian or American speedway riders will be granted entry visas into the UK until such time as the workshops are complete and the sponsorship licences are reinstated.”
The confusion could see FIM Speedway Grand Prix stars Chris Holder, Troy Batchelor and Jason Doyle denied permits to race in the UK. They may also be unable to base themselves in the country.
Their right to race elsewhere in Europe is unaffected by the UK visa row as 26 nations such as Poland, Sweden and Denmark are all covered by the Schengen agreement, which the United Kingdom opted out of.
Any Aussies, Americans or non-EU nationals who have been granted the right to settle indefinitely in the UK or hold a British, EU or Swiss passport will not be affected by the crisis.
The BSPA is determined to resolve the matter and ensure all riders affected can start the Elite and Premier League season in mid-March.
A statement released on their official website reads: “A number of speedway clubs who employ migrant riders (non-EU) were asked to attend a meeting with UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) this week.
“This meeting was a result of a number of regular compliance visits to individual clubs as the employers. There are administrative issues which all parties are keen to resolve before the start of the 2015 British speedway season. The UKVI have offered to hold an operational workshop for club officials to assist them in this complex process.
“In the meantime, the BSPA (British Speedway Promoters' Association) and UKVI remain committed to work towards a satisfactory outcome.
“British speedway chairman Alex Harkess said: 'The UKVI have assured us they will work with us with the aim of ensuring all eligible riders are able to compete in the 2015 season.'”