13 February 2009

Bird to hold off UK visa appeal

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Australian rugby league star Greg Bird has had his UK visa application rejected, just days before he was due to play with new Bradford teammates in the UK, reports BBC News.

The rugby player had applied for a UK work permit so that he could play in the Super League competition for Bradford; however, his impending court case caused an obstacle.

Bird is charged with assaulting his girlfriend, and he was hoping to play rugby in the UK until he was due for his court appearance, yet the UK High Commission have denied his UK visa application.

The Bradford Club has said in a statement they would give him support during the next few weeks and would be happy to retain his one-year contract and let him start after he has been through the case.

"Rather than fight this decision through the appeals process, Greg has decided to have his day in court and prove his innocence before reapplying," club officials said in a statement.

Bird is not the only rugby league player to face visa troubles after the British government tightened UK immigration rules; Todd Carney and Michael Crocker have both had their UK work permits rejected and have not been able to play in the UK Super League.

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in UK visa and immigration services.

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