Sheffield Tigers’ management team has moved to assure anxious supporters they will do everything possible to ensure Ty Proctor and Taylor Poole make the start of the season.
Clubs were called to a meeting with UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) officials in Sheffield last week which saw all non European Union riders have their visas suspended and clubs were told to surrender their sponsorship certificates after some had made errors in previous applications.
It appears the process has to start again with fresh applications which leaves individual riders and their clubs facing a race against time to make the start of the season.
Sheffield promoter Damien Bates said: “We understand Ty and Taylor will need to re-apply for their visas and hopefully everything will be in place for the start of the season.
“It is just a shame this has happened so close to the new season and time is of the essence. I can also confirm this does not apply to Arthur Sissis who will be riding for us on a European passport.”
The immigration issue is clearly a widespread problem for the sport with the timing of it most unfortunate as the official start of the 2015 season is March 15.
A host of testimonial and benefit meetings – including Sheffield’s staging of the Ricky Ashworth event on March 22 – may not be able to include non-EU riders.
But British Speedway Chairman Alex Harkess has moved to assure everyone all parties are working together in a bid to resolve the issue quickly. He said: “The UKVI have assured us they will work with us with the aim of ensuring all eligible riders are able to compete in the 2015 season.”
Tracks were inspected at the end of last season and it has taken until now to take this action which means some fixtures may be delayed. Sheffield’s League Cup campaign opens on Thursday March 26 against rivals Scunthorpe, another team forced to make new applications for riders along with the majority of clubs.