The always attractive and busy English polo season is currently underway, with a very interesting kickoff in terms of the sport, with several teams competing, as a result of the great expectation following 2020 and 2021, marked by the COVID pandemic. But when the worst nightmare seems over, an unexpected issue is causing trouble for lots of people who were due to take part of the season.
As soon as the first games of the season started, and to everybody’s surprise, last minute replacements for players were done. The cause? The Visa that allowed them to play legally in the United Kingdom was not ready. What was the reply from the institutions involved? The large number of migrants from Ukraine due to the war with Russia.
Among those damaged due to this are players, pilots, grooms, managers and several workers within the sport. “It’s really difficult to put a different lineup together for each match”, stated a person who is head of an organization. “It’s very frustrating having prepared such a much anticipated season and still not being able to play”, said a player who is a member of one of the teams currently playing the 22-goal.
Even though the conflict is reaching all levels of workers within the sport, as we pointed out before, the issue gets more significant at the English high goal due to the impact it has, because there are players, who are members of the 22-goal teams, and aren’t able to play yet. Renowned players such as Marqués de Riscal’s Santiago Cernadas, currently replaced by Facundo Llosa; UAE’s Lukin Monteverde, replaced by Juanchi Ambroggio; La Magdeleine’s Facundo Fernández Llorente, replaced by Min Podestá; Dubai’s Jerónimo del Carril replaced by Guillermo Terrera – are only a few of those who are awaiting for a solution concerning their working permits.
At the moment to apply for the Visa, it was informed that the procedure and approval would last between three weeks and six weeks maximum. That was the information up-to-date. But the fact is that the problem is not only has the deadline been overcome in those six weeks but others have been waiting for eight weeks. On the other hand, there have been many applications that have been approved in due time, even when they applied after some of those which are still in the waiting.
It is worth noting that the British nationals don’t need any kind or working permit to play professional polo in their country, as well as those who hold an European Union passport and the EU Settlement Scheme (settled and pre-settled status) which have been designed for those who have the necessary documents in order to have the residency in the United Kingdom to work legally after the Brexit.
As a conclusion, and after the first month of the season, many players are still awaiting in their respective countries and even in the United Kingdom, for the granting of their working Visa to start playing and forget such a stressful situation that brings a headache in a way or another to most of the organizations who take part of the English polo season, despite the migratory status of each of their members.