Missing Commonwealth Games athletes and coach face deportation from Australia

Before the games Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton warned athletes not to overstay their visas

Before the games Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton warned athletes not to overstay their visas

The Refugee Advice and Casework Service in Randwick says some of the 11 athletes have asked for help with visas.

A Sydney-based refugee group has already provided assistance to a "significant number" of the athletes, among whom are eight from Cameroon, two from Uganda and one from Rwanda.

The athletes and officials were confirmed missing during last month's Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

According to New Zealand Herald, the athletes have turned up in Sydney inquiring legal advice on how to stay in Australia.

Government authorities have consistently stressed none of those missing had breached their visas by leaving the Games village but all were urged to depart before their visas expire on May 15. Two weightlifters from Cameroon, Francois Etoundi and Simplice Ribouem, were both granted refugee status and competed for Australia in 2018.

"I would not suggest that there was a group of people that had decided "let's compete in the Commonwealth Games to get to Australia", she said.

Before the games came to an end, several athletes from African nations failed to participate in the events.




Dale said it was "always advisable" to seek asylum before a person's visa - of any type - expired, rendering them an "unlawful non-citizen" subject to detention.

"Like anyone else, they're expected to operate within the law, and enforcement action will take place to identify those people and to deport them if they don't self-declare". The Cameroon team's press attaché said: "They just left in the night".

Athletes from Cameroon enter the stadium for the Opening Ceremony.

They were said to have absconded over three consecutive nights.

"I think that's too far of a stretch".

It was not the first time African athletes have gone missing.

Rogue athletes aren't uncommon at big global sporting events, and Australia saw similar circumstances after the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

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