'Racism' halts Gold Coast United trial

January 18, 2010

Outspoken Gold Coast United owner Clive Palmer on Monday slammed the Australian government's immigration policies as "racist" after a youngster from Ghana was denied a chance to trial with the A-League club.

The United chairman was also unhappy with the Ghanian government.

Palmer claimed all professional soccer players from Ghana wishing to play for Australian clubs were required to obtain a letter from their country's Ministry of Youth and Sport providing permission to visit.

"Without the agreement of the Ghanaian government, Australian visas for these players are being refused," Palmer said in a statement.

"The Australian government issues visas, without the same requirements, to players coming from Europe and other white countries.

"This is a gross violation of the United Nations charter and the human rights of the players concerned when a non-democratic government is required to provide information about an individual and can veto the visa application of a soccer player to a free and democratic nation like Australia.

"Everybody needs to know that if a football player from Ghana shows enough potential to become a professional elsewhere, then the Ghanaian government may not approve their visa application."

He compared the "artificial requirements" placed on the issuing of visas with those of the old White Australia policy.

"The Prime Minister and Minister for Immigration need to take immediate action to expunge these racist policies and conditions that are designed to block black Africans from coming to Australia," Palmer said.

"One would have thought that the White Australia policy was dead and buried, but it seems that the Ghanaian High Commissioner and his office in Nairobi are seeking to resurrect it in conjunction with the Australian Immigration Minister.

"The coaches at our club are more than capable of providing the embassy with confirmation regarding the playing ability of these players and the fact that we want to enter into a professional contract with the player.

"Instead of accepting the judgement of Australians, these minions at the embassy would rather rely on what the Department of Youth and Sport in Ghana says.

"The behaviour of the Immigration Department in dealing with Ghanaian footballers is a national disgrace and the club is investigating the matter further so that the Australian government can be brought to account."