Michael Crocker denied UK visa - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Michael Crocker denied UK visa

By Laine Clark 30/01/2009 06:54:08 PM Comments (0)

Michael Crocker has become the second high-profile NRL player to be refused a visa to play in the English Super League, fuelling speculation that Greg Bird could soon become the third.

Hull FC are considering appealing the decision by the British High Commission which also rejected an application by former Canberra bad boy Todd Carney to join Huddersfield.

Test backrower Crocker, 28, had hinted that he would consider retiring if the three-year English deal fell through.

Hull FC said no explanation had been given for the refusal.

However, both Crocker and Carney had convictions.

Crocker was arrested following a scuffle with police outside a Sydney hotel in 2005 and convicted of affray.

It is hardly music to the ears of former Cronulla star Bird who is waiting for his visa application to be processed in order to link with Bradford.

Bird, on a contract of $360,000 a year, was stood down by the Sharks after allegedly assaulting his girlfriend Katie Milligan.

He is due to face court again in Sydney on April 27 on charges of reckless wounding, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and two charges of lying to police.

But Rugby Football League executive chairman Richard Lewis was still confident Bird would play in the 2009 Super League.

"I'm relaxed about it. If it's within the rules, which it is, that's fine," he told British reporters.

"I don't have a problem with it. He wasn't banned in the NRL so he's free to play in Super League.

"I'm not aware of any problem. It's up to him and the club to process the application."

Bradford was panned by rival Leeds' chief executive Gary Hetherington for snapping up Bird, describing it as "an embarrassment to Super League".

While an appeal may be on the cards, time is running out for Crocker to join his Hull FC teammates before February 13's season opener against Wigan.

"Hull FC and Michael are reviewing the papers from the consulate in order to determine the next steps," a Hull FC statement said.

"Neither Michael nor Hull FC will make any further comment at this stage until their course of action is established.

"The visa system does provide a right of appeal and the club does not wish to compromise a potential appeal by making public comment at this stage."

Crocker had been training with former Melbourne teammates as he sweated on the visa green light.

But it is not just players with troubled pasts who are experiencing visa application problems.

A tightening of the visa regulation system has led to delays in the arrivals of many players from Down Under.

Newcomers Celtic Crusaders are the worst hit - they are still waiting for eight members of their senior squad to arrive.

Celtic kick off their inaugural Super League campaign against champions Leeds next Friday.

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