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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 December 2007, 11:17 GMT
Bangura loses deportation hearing
Alhassan Bangura
Bangura is set to be deported back to Sierra Leone
Watford's Al Bangura faces deportation to Sierra Leone after losing his case to stay in the UK at an Asylum and Immigration Tribunal hearing.

The 19-year-old, who became a father only nine days ago, will launch an immediate appeal against the decision, with the full support of his club.

He arrived from Sierra Leone four years ago, escaping civil war, and was given limited discretionary leave to stay.

But now the Home Office will initiate moves to remove him from the country.

Watford manager Aidy Boothroyd told BBC Radio 5 Live: "It is an incredible decision, absolutely ludicrous.

"We hear about things all the time where we vote to elect people to power and then we presume and hope that they will put civil servants in place who will do a good job.

"I hope common sense does prevail. We have the opportunity to appeal - we have 10 days to do that, which takes us up to Christmas. We will be appealing because we think it is a ridiculous decision.

if he doesn't come back he will never have the opportunity to do what he's doing so well as a young footballer - that's a tragedy

Watford chairman Graham Simpson

"We hope to get other people in involved. The Home Secretary can get involved now. We are speaking to people through the club.

"We thought we could put our faith in British justice but obviously not. We have to keep trying everything we can to make sure he stays.

"He does feel in danger of being sent back - because of his connections, because of his father's connections. To escape civil war twice and avoid what he has avoided in his life, we cannot imagine what this boy has gone through in his short life and then somebody somewhere thinks it is a good idea to send him back to all of that."

Hornets chairman Graham Simpson added: "This is a young man who pays his taxes, came over here as a 15-year-old under appalling circumstances from Sierra Leone, has made a life for himself, done something very special and has the talent as well.

"That's the saddest thing of all. If he goes back there he will probably not be able to come back, and if he doesn't come back he will never have the opportunity to do what he's doing so well as a young footballer. That's a tragedy."

Watford's head of football operations Iain Moody said: "This is terrible news for Al and a big shock to everyone at the club.

Al Bangura has built up his life, having established great ties here, including a family life with his partner and a profession

Watford legal representative Chris Pelentrides

"We will continue to fight this case and have full confidence that common sense and justice will prevail and Al will be allowed to continue his life in this country.

"We have been fortunate to count on the support of Watford MP Claire Ward in making representations to the Home Office on Al's behalf and we look forward to continue working with her on this."

Bangura fears a return to his homeland, where he could be under threat from the Soko tribe, formerly led by his late father.

Club legal representative Chris Pelentrides insisted there was a compelling case for Bangura to be allowed to stay in the country.

"His compassionate circumstances clearly warrant his continued stay in the United Kingdom," he said.

"He has built up his life, having established great ties here, including a family life with his partner and a profession."

Before the ruling, Watford MP Ward told BBC 3CR: "He has made a very good life for himself and is a significant contributor to the UK economy and to my local economy as a constituent."

Bangura has made over 50 appearances, scoring one goal, since joining the club in April 2005.

SEE ALSO
Country profile: Sierra Leone
18 Sep 07 |  Country profiles
Bangura pens new Watford deal
19 May 07 |  African
Watford pair sign extended deals
20 Jul 06 |  Watford


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