By Alejandra Ocampo & Andrés Ugarte Larrain
The news shocked the polo community: the upcoming polo season in England could be at serious risk after the Home Office announced today that the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) is banned from providing endorsements for the 2017 season.
Regarding the issue, the HPA made the following statement:
“The Home Office responded this afternoon that it is not prepared to agree that the current visa criteria could remain in place for 2017 and that a decision will be made on endorsement criteria as soon as possible. However, they are currently unable to give a specific deadline or to lift the ban on the HPA providing endorsements for the 2017 season.
Anticipating such a response, the HPA’s solicitors sent a letter before action to the Secretary of State for the Home Department before Christmas in accordance with the pre-action protocol (“PAP”) for judicial review. Given the response received today from the Home Office, the HPA is seeking urgent further advice from Counsel.
Unfortunately, in the meantime the HPA will not be allowed to issue endorsements.”
This means that the Home Office suspended the special rule that allowed the employment of foreign players, rated at any level, as well as grooms.
Although this is not yet a definitive decision, it is a very complicated situation. Due to this measure, the 2017 polo season in England faces a uncertain start because there will be a severe shortage of both players and grooms.
This will be very hard for the sport, affecting working opportunities for several players and grooms. More information on the issue is expected soon.