Soccer player faces the boot, Thiago Priori has been living in Australia for 8 years and now faces deportation.
Soccer player faces the boot, Thiago Priori has been living in Australia for 8 years and now faces deportation. Patrick Gorbunovs

Deportation delayed for Bangalow soccer star

THE Bangalow football (soccer) community is rallying behind Thiago Priori, who has avoided being deported from the country while the Department of Immigration looks into his case to see if a ministerial intervention is warranted.

Thiago and his wife have been living here for eight years and their son was born here.

His application for a "distinguished talent visa" was rejected, despite the fact he has been selected for the Australian futsal squad. The irony is that he is unable to play for Australia because he is not a resident.

Thiago's bridging visa expires on June 3 and he feared that he would have to leave the country quickly but now he has confirmation that the Minister for Immigration Brendan O'Connor will look into his case.

"It's positive; I don't know how much more time (we will get) or if the Minister will intervene but it's positive so far," Thiago said.

Bangalow's senior coach, Mark Shepherd, said a Save Thiago campaign had been launched on the team's website and the rest of the club were showing their support.

Thiago is the Bluedogs' junior development coach.

"Everyone was asking what they could do to help; everyone wants to get on board," he said..

"People can voice their expression of support (on the website) and we can then show that to the department because in one part of the criteria for ministerial intervention it says the applicant has to show they have integrated into society.

"This is a clear indication of how that has occurred and hopefully they will stand up and take notice of that.

"We're optimistic he can stay in the country and continue his work while he goes through the process.

"It's positive he's getting an audience rather than having him pack his bags."



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