Irish immigration authorities ‘bowled out’

Teams come for genuine competitions, but play the game of disappearance

27th July 2009: Scamming cricket teams are apparently bowling out the immigration authorities.
It is believed cricket teams come from the Middle East for genuine competitions, but disappear even before the cricket match begins. The incidents have led Justice Chiefs to believe the practice of disappearing before the cricket matches is fast attaining the proportions of a growing trafficking trend.

Cricket Ireland, the body managing the sport across the island, says it is unaware of any such attempt aimed at an immigration scam or vanishing act by the cricket team members. In fact, spokesman Barry Chambers says this is the first they have heard of this.

Chambers says the only cricketers coming over to Ireland to play for Irish clubs are from Pakistan and India. They have to go through a rigorous application process. They just can’t roll up and start playing cricket, he insists.

But the Republic’s Department of Justice says in last year players mainly from Pakistan and Bangladesh came to play, but never turned up for the innings.

Giving details, a department spokesman says they were genuine cricket teams; and the cricket competition too was genuine. But once they got into the state, they never turned up for the matches. Some were located subsequently in Britain.

The immigration officials say several teams apply to enter the country from the Middle East. Each team comprises one or two players with a good travel history. But once they make it legally, some players claim asylum or simply disappear.

Quoting an example, the department says on one occasion 10 team members were stopped while they were making an attempt to travel on to the UK. As Ireland and Britain share a common travel area, they were not required to use a passport. The members later on claimed asylum.
Immigration chiefs assert earlier also a Pakistani show jumping team tricked the border control.

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