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Thursday, 13 January, 2000, 14:12 GMT
Should Tyson be barred from Britain?

Boxer Mike Tyson, the self-styled "baddest man on the planet", looks set for a knockout blow from the UK Government.

Tyson was due to fight Julius Francis in Manchester on January 29, but now he could be barred from the country because of his conviction for rape in 1992 and for attacking two motorists in 1999.

The Home Office says the rules can only be broken on strong compassionate grounds, while the fight organisers say it is too late to switch the bout, thousands of fans will be disappointed and that "common sense will prevail".

What do you think? Should Tyson and his entourage be allowed into Britain for the clash, or should the authorities stick to the letter of the law?


I am a British woman currently in deportation proceedings because of a £10 fine I received in England at the age of 21. I am unable to earn a living over here and am in limbo, but will surely be deported because of the harsh immigration laws of the US. It will be a complete outrage if Tyson is allowed into England when I am to be deported!
Deborah Aaron, US/UK

The guy is a convicted rapist. I am sure that every other convicted rapist that doesn't happen to be a rich celebrity would be prevented access, so why make an exception for him.
Roy Chapman, UK / Germany

I do not think Mr. Tyson should be permitted to fight in the UK. In fact, he should not be permitted to fight again period. He has continually demonstrated a lack of sportsmanship and common decency both in the ring and out. As a fighter, he does not abide by the code of conduct mandated for the sport. I cannot imagine that anyone would willingly want to fight him given the fact that he has repeatedly crossed the line.
Dorothy, USA

The rules would apply to others, so why not to him? Set the example and refuse entry!
G.L.S., UK

Mr Tyson is a professional athlete only trying to earn a living. He most certainly should be permitted to work in any part of the world that will lend him an ear. Hopefully he will find a new home and stay there!
John Brown, USA

If Tyson was British with the same criminal record for rape, there is no way on this Earth the UK Immigration would allow him in. We have laws in place preventing known criminals from entering the country; we should impose this in all cases, regardless of wealth, fame, or the fact that the organisers will have to refund all the money collected for the fight.
Mike Dunn, UK

Of course he should be allowed to come to Britain. Particularly ironic as it comes in a week in which we have allowed a known Nazi war criminal and a Chilean dictator - both responsible for the death and suffering of 10s of thousands of people - freedom to leave the country. Shouldn't we get our priorities right?
Kevin Driscoll, England

Sports figures may be able to transcend the law in the USA, but in the United Kingdom they should be treated equally under the law. The OJ Simpson factor should not be allowed to play in this affair.
Dan Charlesworth, Canada (British)

This is a ridiculous situation. For all the problems that Mike Tyson has faced both in and out of the ring, he definitely is an attraction and as such that can only be good for British Boxing. Why can't they just make a decision now; it is not fair on the promoters and paying public to leave the situation 'in the air' so to speak!
Stephen Blyth, Saudi Arabia

As a lover of the sport, I still feel that Manchester should consider taking the proper moral response on this issue. This man is dangerous and continues to break laws. If he cannot behave here, he should not be considered trustworthy anywhere else. If the UK is willing to have this man a role model for their children or aspiring boxers, then I hate to think of the standards of British boxing in 5 years time.
Dan Victory, UK in USA

If because of his background, Tyson is not eligible to enter the UK, I will just say: "Bravo" to your laws. That man should have been banned for all sports activities a long time ago.
Foute Nelong J.C., Canada

Tyson is a thug and rape is a serious crime. The rule of law must be upheld to deny him entry. Let the handful of capitalists who would profit from his visit, here, weep into their beer. We must spell out a very clear message that rapists and violence against women are not tolerated in our society.
Zoe, UK

Mike Tyson should be permanently barred from boxing in all countries. He is a danger to everyone he is around and has proven that he cannot conduct himself in a professional manner. Boxing is inherently a violent sport but it does have rules and regulations that Tyson has continued to ignore.
V Chapman, USA

What is the actual law on this, and what legal precedents are there against it? Yes he is a convicted criminal, yes he served more than 12 months. If any other sportsman/entertainer has been let into the country with the same history as Tyson, then there should be no question that he is allowed to fight. This isn't about morality or politics, but law.
Shin, Japan (ex-UK)

Sorry Simon Cameron but just because he's black does not mean that this is racist issue. I don't care what colour he is, Mike Tyson is a thug and rapist. He should not be allowed into the UK for our protection and because of his convictions! Also to let him box again after what happened with Evander Holyfield is totally beyond me!
Richard, Wales

Keep to the law. I don't think he should be allowed to fight in the UK or anywhere else.
Gretchen Brown, USA

The question is in the media, therefore it can no longer be turning a blind eye. It is condoning or forgiving his behaviour and bending the law for a criminal not the good person. Should money effect moral justice.
Sean, USA

I think its disgusting that a rapist and wife batterer is still being treated as a "Celebrity" and "Sportsman". What example does that set?
Mrs A. James, USA

Why is Tyson allowed to box at all? The woman he has raped is mentally scarred for life, and he is given his licence back as though he'd done nothing worse than get a parking ticket. One can hardly argue that he is destitute and has no other means of income. Given that he is allowed to box, I think it is perfectly fair that the UK should exclude him. As has been pointed out, the rules are the rules. Tyson would be denied a US visa if he were from the UK. I do not see any grounds to treat him differently. I also don't feel a whole lot of compassion for people who pay money to watch a convicted rapist.
Phil Strother, US (UK citizen)

Mike isn't going to settle in the UK for the rest of his life, the fact is that he is going for business and he'll be back to the US within a short time. Think about the people who already bought tickets, what do think will be their reactions? I think Mike should be allowed into the UK under very strict conditions.
Ronnie Tabby, US

Yes, he should be allowed in. The only fair alternative would be to apply the rules equally to all - no matter which country they are from or what their political or public standing.
Alastair, England

All I we can say is if the home office lets a mass murderer Pinochet into this country, what's wrong with Tyson who is only earning a living???
Rakesh Jilka, United Kingdom

Why has this even come up, because he is famous. I would bet that daily Americans enter Britain who have served a prison sentence, and visa versa, he is not going to stay in the UK. Tyson is "On Business" pure and simple, after the fight he will be on a plane back to the US. This seems to me to be some kind of daft political stunt by the present government
James Jeffrey, USA, but English

Mike Tyson has committed a serious crime. The immigration rules allow for such persons to be barred from entry to this country. If the reverse situation was applicable and he was British, or any other nationality, trying to enter the USA there wouldn't even be a debate!
Stuart Wilson, Scotland

He should be allowed to box. He is not coming here for a vacation, he's coming here to work. If he wasn't so recognisable he could have come in to the country no questions asked. The governments' stance is a total cop out. Tyson is going to generate a lot of money for this country. The event also gives Manchester an opportunity to shine in front of the Olympic and world cup committees. The guy is doing the UK a favour by fighting here.
Akthar Chowdhury, UK

I'm afraid we have had too many inconsistencies in the recent past. If the rules bar Tyson's entry then that is how it should be. His boxing career cannot be looked on as a compassionate requirement nor can the views of the ticket buying public.
Pete Walmsley, UK

That awful man is a dreg of humanity, whether he is in the USA or in the UK, we are ashamed of him, don't encourage him by letting him in to the UK.
Gordon Hurd, USA

He should have thought of this potential hazard before he got himself arrested.

If Tyson was British and wanted to enter the US, for whatever reason, he would be barred, under US Immigration law, because of his criminal record. What is sauce for the goose....
Malcolm, Canada

The UK has never had any trouble letting people guilty of far more serious crimes into the UK. If the Tamil Tigers are allowed offices in London, it seems nit-picking to ban someone like Tyson.
Jan Jülicher, Switzerland

The law is clear on this matter (as it should be) - convicted criminals are not allowed into the UK. It's terribly sad to think that some would agree with that statement - and then demand an exception for a violent criminal, who has offended multiple times over the course of the last few years. I doubt that US Immigration authorities would find much sympathy if the No.1 British boxing contender/rapist/convicted tried to enter the US, and Mr. Tyson should expect nothing but the same treatment.
Duane Gabor, Washington DC, USA

All standard immigration rules that apply to any visitor should apply to Tyson. Anything else would imply double standards. There should be no exceptions in favour or against Tyson.
Avinash Phillips, USA

To state that Tyson should be allowed to "play" because he did not commit his cowardly crimes in this country is to suggest that Hitler should be welcome for brunch at your house!
Taz, GB

Banning someone on an antiquated law for a conviction they have served time for in their own country is ridiculous. Just let the guy in, do his job, and leave again - there should be no argument.
Jason, UK

I pity the immigration office who has to refuse him entry.
Nic Garton, UK

Whether you're a fan or not (and I'm not), there cannot be a rule for Tyson and a rule for everyone else. If this rule was consistently applied to everyone, people like James Brown, Don King, Jerry Lee Lewis etc who have all been convicted of crimes would and should have been refused entry. This decision smacks of politics and it is no surprise that it is linked with Labour's campaign for London Mayor.
Andrew, West Midlands

Tyson is a thug and a "nutter" and despite the pleas of those who wish to make a bundle of money out of his appearance, British law should be upheld
Mick Brown, Australia

Mike Tyson is going to do no one any harm, except his opponent in the ring. If the likes of Don King and James Brown can come and go in this country why can't Tyson? He's here to work, he'll only be here for a few weeks and the fact that all 22,000 tickets were sold out in 48 hours just shows how popular Mike Tyson is. Let him come and fight!
Michael Combe, Newcaste upon Tyne, UK

It always amazes me how people, or should I say governments, selectively enforce their own laws. Dependent on who you are the rules do not always apply. It is simple - if your laws state that a person convicted of certain offences means they are denied entry, then enforce that law. While each case should be reviewed I believe the only exceptions are for those that truly warrant it. This should not be based on who you are but by the circumstances involved.
Steve Elijah, USA

Soleyman from the USA says on this page that because Tyson has committed no crimes in the UK he should be allowed here. I say to Soleyman that if I had committed those crimes in the UK I would not be admitted into the USA - even as a tourist.
Angus Gulliver, UK

As an American lawyer working here on a work permit, I would like to note that US immigration law is currently extremely tough, even harsh, and in an analogous case would have no problem refusing entry to a UK citizen. There is no reason for Americans to expect anything different if they fail to satisfy the relevant immigration regulations. Mike Tyson's conviction for rape is, because of his celebrity status, notorious. Bending the rules for him would be thus highly visible and would be a message that in the UK, rules can be circumvented. When one thinks of all the asylum and hardship cases that routinely end in deportation and furthermore of all of the people who are refused entry at this country's airports every day, it seems that the UK government must refuse him entry as well if it wants to preserve its public image of integrity. I would applaud a Home Office to refuse him.
Michael Walker, UK

I think that Tyson should be let in to the country. If the fight is cancelled, it will cause a lot of disappointment for ordinary people.
James Morrison, Scotland

Tyson is a convicted rapist with violent tendencies, even beyond the norm for his "sport" - the example gentle giants like Henry Cooper makes it clear that boxing does NOT imply that a boxer must be violent outside the ring! From what I have seen, Tyson is pretty well unrepentant. In this case, I think it would be very difficult to make a case for admitting him to this country.
Paul Cooper, UK

Yes, he should be banned from this country. We don't need to import men who think violence against women is OK, unfortunately we have enough of our own. We must not change the rules just because he is coming here to take part in a so-called sport.
Maureen Buch, England

For a country that is harbouring known war criminals and mass murderers, to ban Tyson for his rape sentence is pathetic and hypocritical in the extreme. What can you do but let him in.
Justin Bailey, England

I believe that if it was possible to deport a US-born American citizen, the majority of Americans would be quite happy to see Mike Tyson shipped out of the US for good. For goodness sake, don't let this rapist/violent assault/maniac into your country. Stand your ground. He deserves no special treatment.
Elke, USA

I have no confidence that the man is able to control himself in our country, let alone, a foreign country. If you have a reason to keep him out, then do it.
Laura Hamilton, USA

Of course he should not be allowed in. British immigration rules bar entry to convicted criminals and he falls into this category. This should not be waived just because he is a famous sporting figure. Also, I am tired of the United States barring entry to foreign nationals for something as minor as a drink driving offence yet expecting other countries to accept their citizens no matter what crime they have committed.
Kate, UK

A professional murderer, Iranian foreign minister, was welcomed to this country with red carpet a few days ago. General Pinochet is about to evade justice. And now the Home Secretary is concerned about letting Tyson in. What is going on? That's what I call double standard in implementing law.
B H Mohammad, UK

Mike Tyson, though a reprehensible human being, pales in comparison with General Pinochet.
William Lane, Canada

We have laws to keep dangerous criminals out of the country and he should be bound by them. He is a convicted rapist and therefore deemed to be an undesirable. If Mike Tyson was not a famous boxer nobody would care about this possible ruling and yet, when has being a boxer meant you are above a country's most basic laws? Some people ask why keep him out when we can see him fight on television from France or another European country?
Sally Mc, UK

Would he be allowed to continue boxing, at home or abroad, if he was a paedophile? Why is rape then seen as a crime that is less damaging and dangerous?
Wendy, UK

I think you should let him play, because he didn't commit any crime in your country.
Soleyman, United States

Rules are rules I'm afraid. If Tyson is let in on the grounds he is a great boxer (which he is), will other criminals be let in because they are great at ballet or cooking.
Daren, UK

If it wasn't for the seriousness of his crimes, then the irony of this might even be funny. We are asking whether he should come her to perform acts that, if the rest of us were to commit, we would be arrested and jailed for, perhaps up to the level of attempted murder if we put another man into a persistent vegetative state, or actually killed him as occasionally happens in the 'sport' of boxing. As a country that has often considered itself to be a leading light in the cause of civilisation, we need to not only ban Mike Tyson, but ban the very activity that he wants to conduct here in the first place - ban boxing.
Martin Dart, Oxford, UK

Banning Tyson is ridiculous. The man is here for a sporting event. He has served his time and the chances of him re-offending whilst on these shores is minimal. Think of the people who have already spent money on tickets (but not the promoters-they should have thought of this prior to arranging the fight in the UK)
David Rice, UK

It seems unbelievable to me that this issue should even be up for debate. It is not in dispute that Tyson has been convicted for violent crimes against others and yet it is proposed that he is allowed to enter the UK on "compassionate" grounds.
Surely, the only reasons that Tyson has for wanting to enter the UK (compassionate or other) is to line his pockets with cash. Morally I would have thought that it's clear that there are no grounds for waiving the restriction. Mike Tyson in the UK? No thanks!
Roger White, England

We have enough violent thugs and rapists in this country without having to let others in.
Janet, UK

The law should be followed. If rape bars one from visiting the UK, then this should be upheld. The Power of the Home secretary to take "discretion" in matters such as this should also be removed- This is a matter of law, not politics.
Paul Rushworth, UK

It doesn't quite add up does it?! The UK will happily let Pinochet into the country, take care of him ... and then give him his freedom. Tyson is a criminal, but hasn't a precedent been set?
Jon Phelps, UK (now US)

Mike Tyson may not be a very pleasant individual, but he is not planning to stay in the UK long-term. I agree with Frank Warren, any objections should have been made when this fight was in its planning stage. I understand that this is the first time that these rules have been invoked against a boxer and as such, no matter what we think of Tyson, it is unfair to treat him differently from others.
Carl, UK

Konrad Kalej, Ken Henderson and now Pinochet. Clearly Tyson hasn't committed enough rape and murder to be welcomed in and out of this country by Jack Straw. This law is almost never enforced, it is pure hypocrisy for the government to suggest otherwise.
Paul Bowman, UK

Being a Brit living abroad , I say he should never be let into the UK .He is far too dangerous, the body of a Gorilla with the mind of a five year old
andrew woodard, america

It is a risk allowing anyone having violent tendencies and a notorious past record into this country. It is not a healthy trend supporting violent men just because they are successful.
Marappa, U.K

Is this sport or politics? If he is of danger to anyone the leave him out. If he is not let him fight his sport. All sport has an element that people don't like - you shouldn't ban someone because you don't like the sport. It would also be nice if Mr Blair got off the fence for once....
P. Smith, UK

I think Tyson has shown that he is a thoroughly disreputable individual both inside and out of the ring. He maybe a good boxer, but he should be banned from the sport for life. In the U.K. or anywhere else.
Alex Bath, Belgium

It would be good if politics and sport would not mix. Tyson is a boxer , visiting for a specific event, and probably on balance adding revenues to the Inland well. It provides the UK with the opportunity to put itself on the map again for big crowd boxing events. In addition, it allows a British fighter the opportunity to make an impact which is good for the future of British boxing. Aside, if the UK wish to turn anyone away as an example, maybe Don King would suffice admirably ?
BT, Sweden

Tyson is a threat to the values of any country and should not be paraded around like a celebrity, but rather should be ostracised as the freakish, brainless thug he is (and will be again and again). Do you know how he got his start in fighting? He beat up elderly women for money and a fight promoter realised his potential from this? I don't see why there is any debate about this man at all.
Dale, USA

Why?. We let Pinochet in.
Gerry, Scotland

Mike is an idiot who doesn't abide by the same ethical standards most of us live by. He should be in jail and banned from professional boxing .
Mr. Jamie Sipe, Texas

First, Spain now has moral fibre (Pinochet) after their nasty history. Now Britain is moral after their nasty history. Yes. Mike should fight in Britain.
D.V. Williams, USA

I find the law recommendable and normally should have held. But to imagine Pinochet is still around and it is being mentioned showes ones real colours, which is not what the world wants to keep on seeing.
Markus Heberman, Germany

If the British officials have nothing better to do, they better just resign. Who really knows if Mike Tyson did actually rape the woman (besides God and the lady in question) ....and how many of you people have assaulted somebody for bad driving...plenty. The Brits think they are so smart but these people do not really understand their past. One of the cities in UK was built on slavery....what a shameful crime. Let the MAN do what he knows best. All of us are criminals after all, its only that Mike is not a politician or else he would be in the UK without any question, period.
Ziman, Zimbabwe

Tyson should be allowed in this country to WORK. He has served his time!
Shafiq, UK

Why pick on Tyson,, we let other convicted people in: Jerry Lee Lewis, James Brown. Nelson Mandela served years didn't he???
David, UK

First off, I want to see Julius Francis beat Tyson in a match here in the UK. The point here is Tyson has been convicted of the crimes stated - it is pointless comparing him to suspected war criminals or other people who have not been convicted of a violent crime from the list of excluding cases. However, if my memory serves me correctly, Don King has been convicted of violent crimes, and I would be quite happy to see him also banned from entering this country.
Matt Bryant, UK

He should absolutely not be allowed in. It's about time ethics was considered more important than money. Allowing him in sends a message that if you are famous enough, the rules don't really apply.
john barbour,

The trouble with the proposed ruling is what it must look like to the black community and those working to eradicate racial injustice in Britain. They are bound to ask: "What is the law there to protect?" If Tyson is dangerous, British "ex-cons" present an even greater threat to us and yet we accommodate them. Unlike Tyson, they cannot be forcibly removed from our midst on any pretext unless they offend again. They are not going back to America after his fight. Neither is the world's media spotlight on them to monitor their movements. And surely, the sheer adulation of Tyson's boxing fans is in itself compassionate grounds enough to allow him in. Thus if Straw decides to enforce this invidious law, I would have to question his motives. What a pity that Britain is once again drawing attention to itself as a nation that seems to have a problem with blacks.
Simon Cameron, United Kingdom

Open The Gates, NOW.
Abdul Rafey, United States < The law mandates that a person convicted for a prison term longer than 12 months is to be barred from entry. Mike Tyson has by no means demonstrated sufficiently that he be excluded from this regulation.
Elgar Schmidt, London, UK

I agree with the banning of the Tyson fight in the UK.
Natalie McKinney, USA

I believe that Tyson represents completely the culture of 'I'm famous and I've got lots of money, so your rules don't apply to me' (Stan Collymore syndrome?). So let's keep him out as a small stand in the fight against these 'superstars' who give a bad example to our young.
martin, UK

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See also:
12 Jan 00 |  UK
Tyson highlights game of chance
12 Jan 00 |  Sport
'Too late' to move Tyson fight
11 Jan 00 |  Sport
The life of Iron Mike

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