Australia to expel Ashes journalists
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.
.@TonyAbbottMHR Why are 3 English cricket writers being forced home early from tour becaus immigration dept refuses to issue visa extension?— John Etheridge (@JohnSunCricket) January 22, 2014
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