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Page last updated at 16:32 GMT, Tuesday, 18 August 2009 17:32 UK

Six Crusaders are to be deported

The players to be deported (clockwise from top left): Quinn, Van Dijk, Mapp, Hannay, Dalle Cort and Duggan
The players (clockwise from top left): Quinn, Van Dijk, Mapp, Hannay, Dalle Cort and Duggan

Six Celtic Crusaders players are to be deported after immigration officials ruled they breached visa regulations, BBC Sport Wales can reveal.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) says visas used to bring the Australians to the Bridgend-based club were invalid.

Captain Jace van Dijk, top try-scorer Tony Duggan and star player Damien Quinn are among the banished players.

The investigation found discrepancies in the visa applications of the six players in seasons prior to 2009.

The Crusaders, playing in Super League for the first time this season, said they had co-operated with the UKBA and would abide by its ruling.

A UKBA statement read: "As the result of an intelligence-led investigation into possible immigration offences among players at Celtic Crusaders, we can confirm that six Australian nationals have been served with papers confirming that they are illegally present in the UK.

"We now expect these individuals to leave the country. If they refuse to do so voluntarily, we will enforce their removal.

"The players are prohibited from working in the UK with immediate effect."

The six players are Darren Mapp, Mark Dalle Cort, Josh Hannay, van Dijk, Duggan and Quinn, who have been told they can no longer play for the Crusaders.


Crusaders chief executive Mike Turner said: "Celtic Crusaders have co-operated fully with the UK Border Agency's investigation and we will abide by their findings.

"We are sorry to be losing players who have made a big contribution in making Celtic Crusaders a Super League club.

"This situation does however provide us with an ideal opportunity to give some Welsh youngsters valuable first team action for our final three games of the season, starting this Saturday when we play Leeds Rhinos in Newport.

"This experience will be invaluable to them as we look ahead to 2010 and the ongoing challenge of establishing ourselves as a force in Super League."

Van Dijk, Duggan and Quinn made their debuts for the club in 2006 with Mapp, Dalle Cort and Hannay arriving the following season.

The six players have until Monday, 7 September to leave the country and are banned from the UK for 10 years.

Each of them has the right to appeal, but they can only do so after leaving the country.

The Crusaders have endured a difficult first Super League season, winning only three games.

Off the field, they and their investors have also faced "difficult" financial conditions because of the credit crunch.

The UKBA said the action announced on Tuesday was against the players, not the club.

But a UKBA spokesman said: "We are still continuing to investigate any potential offences that the club may have committed."

If the club are found to have acted illegally, they could face criminal prosecution.

The sport's governing body in the UK, the Rugby Football League, says it has asked the UKBA for a copy of its report but it will not comment on the case until further details are available.

The RFL has also added that the awarding of visas is an issue between players and the UKBA, not the RFL themselves.

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see also
Celtic Crusaders 0-68 Leeds
22 Aug 09 |  Rugby League
Crusaders coach not worried over visas
20 Jan 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
Visa probe no distraction - Dixon
16 Jul 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
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

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