England coach refused British passport
LONDON, March 10 (AFP) - Duncan Fletcher, the coach of the England cricket team for the past 18 months, has been refused a British passport, he told the Sunday Telegraph.
The Zimbabwe-born coach said he had been informed by immigration officials that he does not meet nationality rules.
Despite protesting that mounting tensions under President Robert Mugabe's regime had prompted him to emigrate, and having British grandparents, he was told he had failed to qualify.
Fletcher moved his wife, Marina, and daughter Nicola to Cape Town, South Africa, but has spent barely nine weeks with them since taking on the England job 18 months ago.
"I applied the first time 10 years ago but was turned down. I didn't push it then but I tried really hard recently and was refused again," he told the paper.
"I am determined to get a British passport and it does seem strange, with my background, and now having this job as coach of the national team, that my application hasn't been accepted."
A Home Office spokesman said he could not comment on individual cases.
However, the eligibility criteria are that the applicant must be over 18; of good character; and with a sufficient knowledge of English.
In addition, there is a three-year residency requirement if the applicant is married to a British citizen, rising to five years for other applicants.