Malawi Queens will not be able to fulfil the first tie of the three-netball match series with England on Sunday at Liverpool’s Echo Arena after a delay to receive their visas in time for travel but will be able to play the two remaining fixtures.
There has been criticism on the way UK visa application for Malawians are handled.
Recently, Members of the House of Lords, the upper house of the UK Parliament called for a fit for purpose visa applications to the UK by Malawians and asked their government to remove the current “disproportionate” red tape .
Lord Jack McConnell, who is former Scotland First Minister said the system is “dysfunctional” and that it is “certainly disproportion.”
The Malawi Queens travelling squad has been the victims of the bureaucratic nightmare the visa application , forcing the team to miss the Sunday match after tickets were already sold to spectators who wanted to watch Malawi play England at Liverpool Echo arena .
Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) General Secretary Carol Bapu said the changes would also affect their itinerary.
Bapu said the Queens would leave on Sunday, December 14 instead of Wednesday December 10.
England netball said in a statement seen by Nyasa Times that “due to unforeseen circumstances with visa issues, Malawi are unable to fulfil their opening fixture of the proposed three match Series in Liverpool this Sunday.”
“Having previously received assurances that the issue was resolved, England Netball contacted the Home Office who regrettably informed us that the application had not been made.
“We are currently working extremely hard with the Home Office and the International Netball Federation to ensure that The Queens are able to obtain their visas and travel to play in the final two matches of the Series in London and Worcester.
“Tickets purchased for Sunday’s games remain valid for all spectators.”
Wales have been drafted in as replacement opponents for Sunday’s match, live on Sky Sports
England Netball apologised for “any inconvenience caused” and said they are hopeful Malawi will be able to travel for the remaining fixtures.
The matches are part of the preparation for the 2015 Netball World Cup, which takes place in Australia in August.
- England v Malawi, 17 December – London
- England v Malawi, 20 December – Worcester