The Ashes 2013-14 January 23, 2014

Australia to expel Ashes journalists

  shares 36

Australia's tougher immigration laws are set to see three English tabloid journalists expelled and unable to cover the death throes of England's disastrous Ashes tour.

John Etheridge from The Sun, one of English cricket journalism's most experienced operators, has been refused licence to stay, as has Dean Wilson from the Mirror and Paul Newman of the Daily Mail.

Etheridge said that Cricket Australia had tried to negotiate on their behalf but that "all avenues have been exhausted".

All three journalists were travelling on a working visa which had been recommended by the Australian visa department.

They are the only three members of England's travelling press pack who had opted to cover the entire tour, including the warm-up matches, and so had gone beyond 90 days. "We had hoped to stay long enough to see England win a match," Etheridge said.

With all solutions seemingly exhausted, Etheridge has even appealed directly to Australia's prime minister Tony Abbott on Twitter.

Newman tweeted disconsolately: "Cricket Australia and the ECB have done all they can to help us but I guess, in Australia particularly, rules are rules..."

Seven England players plus members of the support staff will also go beyond 90 days. They are travelling on a different visa. Australia has yet to evict them.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on January 27, 2014, 5:10 GMT

    I suppose they are lucky they are not sent to Nauru.

  • on January 25, 2014, 2:00 GMT

    Australians like to see themselves as easy-going but in truth this is the most nit-picking, letter of the law, up-tight society on the planet. Try enjoying yourself at the Gabba!

  • dorothydix on January 24, 2014, 23:50 GMT

    Can`t understand why us Poms need a visa, don`t we own the place? Our Queen is all over the coinage.

  • WannaBeRusta on January 24, 2014, 22:27 GMT

    They should have come in the boat

  • BradmanBestEver on January 24, 2014, 13:08 GMT

    Excellent work by the Australian authorities to clear out some of the riff raff

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on January 24, 2014, 3:54 GMT

    Man! What does it take for adults to walk in a line and respect the rules? Don't we teach that to our kids?

  • inthebag on January 24, 2014, 1:54 GMT

    Ah, the privilged pom, as if the law of the colonies should extend to them.

  • Ian_Lister on January 24, 2014, 1:29 GMT

    salazar555, what part of "recommended by the Australian visa department" can't you understand? Of course they should have got the right visa in the first place, which is what they tried to do. Only trouble was, what the visa officials said was the right visa turned out to be the wrong visa. Indeed you cannot have one rule for some and another for everyone else, which is why it is essential that officials are capable of understanding their own rules in the same way for everybody. You ask who is being incompetent. If, by "those following the law of the land" you mean the officials who couldn't correctly follow their own rules, then they did not actually follow the laws very well when they issued the wrong visas. Such bureaucratic incompetence shouldn't be excused just because those affected are unloved tabloid hacks. Think on - next time, the inability of these officials to understand their own rules could work the other way and let in someone who doesn't qualify for entry at all.

  • on January 24, 2014, 1:26 GMT

    If the players got the right visa and the journo's didn't then tough luck. The immigration dept missed a trick though, charge full whack again to convert to the right visa and let them stay once that is paid in full. Otherwise back to blighty with them.

  • voyrison on January 24, 2014, 1:17 GMT

    a tour lasting this long is insane

  • on January 27, 2014, 5:10 GMT

    I suppose they are lucky they are not sent to Nauru.

  • on January 25, 2014, 2:00 GMT

    Australians like to see themselves as easy-going but in truth this is the most nit-picking, letter of the law, up-tight society on the planet. Try enjoying yourself at the Gabba!

  • dorothydix on January 24, 2014, 23:50 GMT

    Can`t understand why us Poms need a visa, don`t we own the place? Our Queen is all over the coinage.

  • WannaBeRusta on January 24, 2014, 22:27 GMT

    They should have come in the boat

  • BradmanBestEver on January 24, 2014, 13:08 GMT

    Excellent work by the Australian authorities to clear out some of the riff raff

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on January 24, 2014, 3:54 GMT

    Man! What does it take for adults to walk in a line and respect the rules? Don't we teach that to our kids?

  • inthebag on January 24, 2014, 1:54 GMT

    Ah, the privilged pom, as if the law of the colonies should extend to them.

  • Ian_Lister on January 24, 2014, 1:29 GMT

    salazar555, what part of "recommended by the Australian visa department" can't you understand? Of course they should have got the right visa in the first place, which is what they tried to do. Only trouble was, what the visa officials said was the right visa turned out to be the wrong visa. Indeed you cannot have one rule for some and another for everyone else, which is why it is essential that officials are capable of understanding their own rules in the same way for everybody. You ask who is being incompetent. If, by "those following the law of the land" you mean the officials who couldn't correctly follow their own rules, then they did not actually follow the laws very well when they issued the wrong visas. Such bureaucratic incompetence shouldn't be excused just because those affected are unloved tabloid hacks. Think on - next time, the inability of these officials to understand their own rules could work the other way and let in someone who doesn't qualify for entry at all.

  • on January 24, 2014, 1:26 GMT

    If the players got the right visa and the journo's didn't then tough luck. The immigration dept missed a trick though, charge full whack again to convert to the right visa and let them stay once that is paid in full. Otherwise back to blighty with them.

  • voyrison on January 24, 2014, 1:17 GMT

    a tour lasting this long is insane

  • thebeardedblunder on January 24, 2014, 0:21 GMT

    Surely Mr Etheridge and co' would be more than glad to get back to good old Blighty so that at least they'll be able to taste some DECENT beer once again!

  • yorkshire-86 on January 23, 2014, 23:39 GMT

    LOL if the England players themselves get evicted, that should be an instant 20 Year ban for Australia in all forms of cricket.

  • on January 23, 2014, 23:27 GMT

    What they couldn't count 90 days ??? Get a calender and CHECK before you leave!!! I suppose its because most of their countrymen dont score beyond 90, thats caused the problem.

  • RandyOZ on January 23, 2014, 22:33 GMT

    Trust the Sun and Daily Mail writers to get expelled. They haven't got a clue in their articles and they obviously don't in real life either!

  • rainynight65 on January 23, 2014, 22:29 GMT

    Having been through the process of applying for an Australian work visa myself, and judging by my experiences, the journalists should have been fully aware of both the validity period of their visa and the conditions attached to it, unless they or their employer just ignored the clear and succinct documentation that comes with every Australian visa grant (even a simple visitor's visa). Who's to say that they weren't originally intending to just cover the Test series, but then on a spur of the moment and in disregard of their 90 day limit (or having forgotten about that) decided to stay a bit longer? Who's to blame? This article is too one-sided to make that call.

  • Chris_P on January 23, 2014, 22:28 GMT

    @ salazar555. Well said. John Etheridge has been here several times & for much longer & had the appropriate visa so why did he opt for one with restrictions of 90 days? I know when I lived overseas similar rules were in place & had to be followed or else so why are these guys so precious? @Chris Brant. That's gold!!! LOL.

  • on January 23, 2014, 22:05 GMT

    Didn't Mitch Starc get sent all the way back to Oz a couple of years ago by the British authorities? That was even before getting in! Goes both ways!

  • smudgeon on January 23, 2014, 20:50 GMT

    "Australia has yet to evict them" is a bit of a strong and provocative statement to make - these aren't unwanted tenants, they are people working in Australia on temporary visas, and in their case their particular visas seem to allow them a different set of circumstances to those who are heading home. I tend to agree with AussieDesi - these other guys knew they had 90 days available to work. If, for whatever reason, the Federal Gov sees fit not to renew or extend their visas, then sending a tweet to Tony Abbott isn't going to make a lick of difference. Still, a bit irritating for them that they were advised by government sources to take these particular visas and then told by government to head home. All I can say is that with Australia's visa laws as they are, you're best off just not trying to convince the powers that be that you're an exception to the laws and somehow more special. The Federal Gov doesn't owe them anything more or less than they have already granted them.

  • Iddo555 on January 23, 2014, 17:03 GMT

    @Ian

    You can't have one rule for some and another for everyone else. If these cricket journalists wanted to stay longer than 3 months then they should have got the right visa in the first place. It's as simple as that Who is being incompetent, the people who didn't get the right visa in the first place or the people following the law of the land?

    I have no sympathy for the journalists, they are acting like they are something special, like rules shouldn't apply to them.

  • Ian_Lister on January 23, 2014, 16:54 GMT

    AussieDesi, as I mentioned in my previous post (which I was writing while you were posting yours) it's unfair to blame these journos or indeed to blame their travel agents for good measure. Of course these guys knew they were going to be staying longer than the 90-day limit but the key point is that so did the people at the visa dept, surely, who recommended them to take this particular visa. Surely one of the very first questions a visa official asks, apart from "what is the purpose of your visit?", is "how long are you planning to stay?" Once they'd received the answer "97 days" or whatever, the officials should either have recommended a more appropriate visa if it was possible or, if not possible, advised "sorry, we only issue visas for up to 90 days." Instead, they gave duff advice. The journos took the visas in good faith that they were recommended by the Australian Visa Dept itself. That's who they "only have to blame".

  • on January 23, 2014, 16:54 GMT

    To quote one of the journalists, "We had hoped to stay long enough to see England win a match," Etheridge said. This is obviously what the authorities were afraid of: They would have been there for life!

  • the_evil_weevil on January 23, 2014, 15:55 GMT

    Loath as I am to defend English tabloid hacks, the article does say "All three journalists were travelling on a visa which had been recommended by the Australian visa department". If they tell you that this visa covers your trip, why would you think anything different? Now if you were to criticise the journos for some of their articles... well, you'd probably be right.

    Wonder if Cook's frantically checking his passport hoping he's got a similar stamp...

  • Ian_Lister on January 23, 2014, 15:42 GMT

    salazar555, whether these immigration rules themselves are no-nonsense is not the issue here. It's whether or not the application of those rules in this particular case is nonsensical and I think it is. First, the Australian visa department itself recommended this visa to the journalists, presumably on the basis of proposed arrival and departure dates. I wouldn't describe bureaucratic incompetence as no-nonsense, quite the opposite. Second, it's clearly a nonsense to regard these guys as the sort of risk about whom immigration laws are made. They are all in the public eye and on business for high-profile overseas employers and obviously not intent on abusing the visa as a means of permanent entry. They are in Oz to work, but are not taking jobs from any locals. tinkertinker, you're right to identify incompetence but, as I've said, it's bureaucratic incompetence you should be pointing the finger at.

  • AussieDesi on January 23, 2014, 15:20 GMT

    Come on guys, lets all calm down a bit. UK passport holders are entitled to visa free access to Australia - for 90 days. These guys clearly knew they were going to be staying longer as they intended to cover the full tour. They only have themselves (or their travel agents) to blame! :-)

    The reason the England cricketers are not being deported (not "evicted") as they are most likely on a different visa ... a professional sportspersons visa which entitles them to stay for the period of the sporting competition in question. Now, are England putting up serious competition? That's another question....

  • AshesErnie on January 23, 2014, 13:52 GMT

    So the Nanny State confirms its metamorphosis to a Police State.

  • cloudmess on January 23, 2014, 13:49 GMT

    I reckon the 3 journos will be glad to get away.

  • Iddo555 on January 23, 2014, 13:28 GMT

    Some no nonsense immigration rules where 90 days mean 90 days. We could do with some of that in the UK

  • AJ_Tiger86 on January 23, 2014, 13:14 GMT

    Why didn't they evict the England players? Surely they have done enough by now to deserve an eviction? You can't do worse than remain winless for 3 months.

  • dws99 on January 23, 2014, 12:24 GMT

    If this was Zimbabwe and our journalists were being thrown out......unbelievable!

  • on January 23, 2014, 11:16 GMT

    Players returning and retiring during the series. Infiighting among players. Not one win to show, spectator attempting to jimp of bridge and now journalists getting deported. This MUST be the most wretched tour of all. Com'n England win one for the fans. You can do it.

  • tinkertinker on January 23, 2014, 10:36 GMT

    English journalists can't count?

    it's not like tour the schedule was made last week, they knew how long the tour went and how long they were allowed to stay.

    Seems like arrogance or incompetence or maybe a bit of both.

  • on January 23, 2014, 10:31 GMT

    Is it possible that the Visa states current employment - International Cricketer, in which case I guess a few of the squad could find themselves in trouble!!

  • on January 23, 2014, 10:24 GMT

    That is just unbelievable!! Disgraceful

  • Selassie-I on January 23, 2014, 10:22 GMT

    Again an example of the whole of Australia working together to beat England here. It wasn't just the team it was the press, government and the fans as well. Maybe we could learn something from that!

  • on January 23, 2014, 10:18 GMT

    What an absolute joke! Are you serious Australia?

  • on January 23, 2014, 10:18 GMT

    geez what petty bureaucratic nonsense!

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on January 23, 2014, 10:18 GMT

    geez what petty bureaucratic nonsense!

  • on January 23, 2014, 10:18 GMT

    What an absolute joke! Are you serious Australia?

  • Selassie-I on January 23, 2014, 10:22 GMT

    Again an example of the whole of Australia working together to beat England here. It wasn't just the team it was the press, government and the fans as well. Maybe we could learn something from that!

  • on January 23, 2014, 10:24 GMT

    That is just unbelievable!! Disgraceful

  • on January 23, 2014, 10:31 GMT

    Is it possible that the Visa states current employment - International Cricketer, in which case I guess a few of the squad could find themselves in trouble!!

  • tinkertinker on January 23, 2014, 10:36 GMT

    English journalists can't count?

    it's not like tour the schedule was made last week, they knew how long the tour went and how long they were allowed to stay.

    Seems like arrogance or incompetence or maybe a bit of both.

  • on January 23, 2014, 11:16 GMT

    Players returning and retiring during the series. Infiighting among players. Not one win to show, spectator attempting to jimp of bridge and now journalists getting deported. This MUST be the most wretched tour of all. Com'n England win one for the fans. You can do it.

  • dws99 on January 23, 2014, 12:24 GMT

    If this was Zimbabwe and our journalists were being thrown out......unbelievable!

  • AJ_Tiger86 on January 23, 2014, 13:14 GMT

    Why didn't they evict the England players? Surely they have done enough by now to deserve an eviction? You can't do worse than remain winless for 3 months.

  • Iddo555 on January 23, 2014, 13:28 GMT

    Some no nonsense immigration rules where 90 days mean 90 days. We could do with some of that in the UK