Sport Other Sports Visa restrictions ‘the biggest risk’ to Gold Coast Commonwealth Games

Visa restrictions ‘the biggest risk’ to Gold Coast Commonwealth Games

Sally Pearson
Champion hurdler Sally Pearson may face less competition if tough visa restrictions stop international athletes attending in 2018. Photo: Getty
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

Athletes heading to the Gold Coast for the 2018 Commonwealth Games may not be able to enter the country because of tough visa restrictions.

Usually the Chef de Mission for each nation files the paperwork for their athletes, but due to strict Australian rules the athletes will be required to do it themselves.

The issue has been raised during an inspection of the Gold Coast games sites by Chefs de Mission from across the globe.

Commonwealth Games Federation president Louise Martin said she is worried some people will not have the capacity to fill out the application.

“We have a lot of athletes who don’t have laptops who don’t have access to internet, and to be fair to some of them, some of them are not very literate,” she said.

“I’m not being nasty when I say that, we’ve got a good cross section, I want to make sure we have a good cross section, that everybody can come.”

The federation said it is doing everything it can to ensure all athletes can enter Australia for the Commonwealth Games, despite the changes to visa rules.

Ms Martin said it could leave some teams short.

“Some people have already said if they can’t change it, they can’t send a team, they won’t have a full team,” Ms Martin said.

“Everybody is worried about it, because everybody wants to come to the Gold Coast,” Ms Martin said.

“This is the one stumbling block that we reckon is the biggest risk to these games.”

Games organisers said the tightening of visa conditions was justified by health and national security issues.

GOLDOC chief executive Mark Peters said many governments are strengthening their border controls.

“It was a lot simpler in Melbourne in 2006 but so was the world,” Mr Peters said.

“I think it’s the Australian government having to respond to what happens internationally.”

He said representatives from federal sports and immigration departments are discussing the issue with the delegates.