Fourie 'not required to leave UK'
January 9, 2013
Hendre Fourie has been handed a boost regarding his visa © Getty Images
Ex-England international Hendre Fourie has been told that "he is not required to leave the UK" by the UK Border Agency.
Reports earlier this week stated that Fourie was facing deportation because his visa expired with his decision to retire. The ex-Sale Sharks flanker, capped eight times during an injury-plagued career, was forced to announce his retirement following an unsuccessful recovery from a third operation on a chronic shoulder injury.
The 33-year-old, who initially moved to England in 2005, had hoped to embark on a new career as a teacher but it looked as if he was going to have to move back to South Africa, the country of his birth. But it appears that he has been given a lifeline by the UK Border Agency with a spokesman telling the Telegraph: "We have not curtailed Mr Fourie's visa at this time and he is not required to leave the UK.
"His employment contract with Sale Rugby Club has been terminated and his employer has rightly informed UKBA of this decision. We are considering what action to take next. If an individual's circumstances change and they no longer meet the terms of their specific visa they can apply for a visa of a different type.
"Mr Fourie has been informed of the process and the various options available to him. It is entirely up to him if he chooses to explore any of them further."
Fourie's possible deportation provoked uproar in and around the rugby community. Players from around the world were tweeting using the hashtags #FourieToStay or #SaveShrek in support of the former flanker. And his case has also received support from a Member of Parliament with Sir Tony Cunningham, the Labour chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Rugby Union Group, calling on Teresa May, the Home Secretary, to support Fourie's desire to stay in the UK.
"If the guy can represent England and lay his body on the line for this country, then this country should treat him better than this," Cunningham, the MP for Workington, told the Times. "There are always exceptions. Look at the Gurkhas - the argument was that they were prepared to fight for England so they should be allowed to come and live here.
"I can't see a big difference in this case. He paid his taxes. He's prepared to work as a teacher and be a role model for our children. Why should he not be allowed to stay?"
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.