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British Authority Barred Aurier From UK for Arsenal-PSG tie

Paris Saint-Germain’s Ivorian defender Serge Aurier

Paris Saint-Germain defender Serge Aurier has been barred from Britain and will miss the club’s Champions League tie against Arsenal on Wednesday after British authorities revoked his visa.

The French champions called the decision “incomprehensible” but Britain’s Interior Ministry said it was acting according to established immigration rules.

“Paris Saint-Germain is stunned by this incomprehensible situation that attacks the very integrity of the UEFA Champions League,” the club said on Tuesday, adding it was because of Aurier’s September conviction for assaulting a police officer outside a Paris nightclub.

 The French champions made clear their anger with British authorities, especially because they said they were only informed of the final decision on Tuesday lunchtime, calling that “a flagrant lack of respect for the club”.

“After an initial application on October 18, complete with all the necessary documents, the British authorities had originally granted Paris Saint-Germain’s Ivory Coast international an entry visa to the UK on October 21,” PSG said.

“However, on November 16, his visa was finally revoked by the British Ministry of the Interior, who justified their about-face by citing Aurier’s conviction.”

PSG, who face Arsenal with top spot up for grabs in Group A, said that they lobbied against the decision to no avail and were further angered by the fact that the final ruling came so late.

The 23-year-old Aurier has not spent any time in prison, despite being sentenced to two months for the assault, and has filed an appeal against the decision.

However, Britain’s Interior Ministry stood by its decision.

“Mr Aurier received a two month custodial sentence in September for assaulting a police officer. The immigration rules clearly state that non-EU nationals who have received a custodial sentence of less than 12 months within the last five years will be refused on criminality grounds,” a statement from the ministry said.

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