Edinburgh Monarchs ace calls for visa guidelines

Edinburgh Monarchs star Justin Sedgmen. Pic: RON MacNEILL
Edinburgh Monarchs star Justin Sedgmen. Pic: RON MacNEILL
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EDINBURGH MONARCHS star Justin Sedgmen today called for speedway riders be given clear guidance to help them stay on the right side of the immigration red tape which has strangled the sport in 
recent weeks.

The Aussie has had his work permit suspended along with 20 other fellow countrymen and two Americans after the UK authorities put a temporary block on all clubs taking on migrant riders. The clubs affected, including Edinburgh, attended a recent workshop with the UK Visa agency and have been cleared to re-apply for their licences.

But, while Sedgmen sweats over his licence, he insisted that everyone involved must be given the advice they need in the future to avoid a repeat of this winter’s chaos. He said: “It’s not really a good look for the sport, and obviously we need to get the whole issue resolved and put rules in place for the future. Hopefully then it all stays good.”

Sedgmen continued: “We need someone to look after us and keep an eye on the new rule changes. The rules regarding visas change quite regularly. Often riders leave the UK or apply for new visas and then discover the rules have changed.

“I personally think more riders need to get on top of this themselves and make sure they dot their I’s and cross their T’s. But we definitley need some kind of guidance.”

Sedgmen is now focusing on Monarchs’ 2015 campaign and revealed he has no plans to take another year out of British racing as he did in 2013, spending that year Down Under.

“If anything did happen concerning the visas I’m not missing a year again. I have already done that. I would probably look at other options like living in Poland because I have just signed to ride for Gdansk in the second division over there.

“The best way forward would be to go to Poland and figure something else out.”

Sedgmen’s Monarchs teammate, Sam Masters, will also be competing in Poland this season having agreed a deal with KMZ Lublin. And Masters also sat out 2013 when he was snared by the new visa regulations after he left the UK without renewing his work permit.

Masters insisted: “I’m at the time of my career where I need to start going forward. If the authorities don’t sort this out, speedway is going to suffer. There are so many Premier League riders who are Aussies and there are quite a few in the Elite League too. British speedway would be at a big loss so hopefully the promoters can get the UK Visa people on their side and they’ll help them out.”