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Page last updated at 13:59 GMT, Thursday, 16 July 2009 14:59 UK

Visa probe no distraction - Dixon

Celtic Crusaders

Coach John Dixon says Celtic Crusaders' displays are unaffected by a UK Border Agency investigation into possible immigration offences at the club.

BBC Sport Wales understands that visas used to bring some overseas players to Wales may be insufficient.

Dixon said: "There are some troubles individually and collectively around the place.

"But when they [the Crusaders players] walk across the white line their brains are on the footy."

Dixon added: "They play for the mate beside them so if they can continue to do that, then the peripheral issues will remain just that."

In an earlier statement, the Crusaders said they are co-operating fully with immigration officials.

And a UK Border Agency spokesman said: "While the investigation is under way it would be inappropriate to comment."

Before the start of the current season, eight of the 27 Crusaders players suffered delays in obtaining the correct work permits.

Captain Jace van Dijk, leading try-scorer Tony Duggan and player of the year Damien Quinn were among the players whose arrival from Australia was delayed.

Footie clubs - and life in general - rarely run smoothly

Crusaders coach John Dixon

All overseas players at the club will have their visas inspected, but it is not known how many may be under investigation for possible irregularities.

The club's statement added: "There were some issues with visas at the start of the season caused by confusion over the UK Border Agency's new regulations and immigration systems but as far as we are aware they were resolved."

The club said they were doing what they could to bring the investigation to a "swift and equitable conclusion".

The investigation is the latest blow for the troubled Bridgend-based club, who currently lie bottom of the Super League in their first season in the top flight despite a third win of the season last weekend, against Salford.

Owner Leighton Samuel has reassured fans he "would not walk away" amid fears the club are suffering financial difficulties.

That prompted Super League chiefs to reiterate their support for the club by saying they are "determined to do what we can to help find additional investors".

Coach John Dixon also earlier admitted the club has recently been through turbulent times.

"Footie clubs - and life in general - rarely run smoothly... there are always challenges to face," he told BBC Sport Wales.

"I think that there will be a positive outcome [to the club's financial position] in the end.

"Financial problems are affecting all of our economy, and to think that a small rugby league club would be impervious... wouldn't make sense.

"To get the long-term assurances that we've had was a really positive step."

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see also
Hull 22-6 Celtic Crusaders
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League to back troubled Crusaders
06 Jul 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
Crusaders consider Newport move
06 Jul 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
Crusaders given future assurance
05 Jul 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
Celtic Crusaders 6-22 Warrington
04 Jul 09 |  Rugby League
Crusaders face Rhinos in Newport
26 May 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
Stadium revamp plans get go-ahead
11 Mar 09 |  Wales
Dixon's plea to Crusaders support
08 Mar 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
Crusaders here to stay - Samuel
18 Feb 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
Crusaders to develop Welsh talent
09 Feb 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
Crusaders lodge new stadium plan
11 Dec 08 |  Celtic Crusaders
Welsh rugby league's Crusade
22 Jul 08 |  Rugby League
Crusaders celebrate Super League status
22 Jul 08 |  Rugby League

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