War fear as Shropshire footballer loses deportation fight
A Shropshire footballer who fears he will be killed if he is forced back to his native Armenia has lost his deportation fight.
Hovik Nersesyan has been playing for Whitchurch Alport, whose supporters have been helping his legal fight by paying his solicitors fees.
Mr Nersesyan says he doesn’t not want to be forced to fight for the Armenian army.
But after a court appeal in Manchester two months ago, the footballer has been told he has lost his bid to stay.
Now he is planning a second appeal in a last ditch effort to gain asylum in the UK.
Whitchurch Alport manager Luke Goddard insisted the club remain fully supportive of their Armenian player, however he will have to come up with new evidence if he wants to remain in the UK.
Mr Goddard said: “He has found out that it has been rejected, so he is now planning another appeal.
“This decision said there wasn’t enough evidence to grant him asylum so now he will have to find different evidence to appeal again. I know he is trying to raise £1,000 in the next two weeks to appeal that, and we believe he has £500.
“He hasn’t been around the club in the last week or so, but we will see him this weekend and go from there. He is such a great lad and I know he is genuinely scared for his life if he goes back to Armenia.”
Mr Nersesyan arrived in the UK two years ago and met the Alport boss, who took him to Yockings Park this season. When he arrived, footballers representing their country were exempt from national service, but since then a war has broken out with Azerbaijan.
Speaking earlier this year he said: “Now they don’t care if you are a footballer. The government is taking everyone and sending them to fight. Soldiers are dying every day.”
The club chairman has paid £2,500 in legal bills for a solicitor to help the footballer in his battle for asylum. He is now trying to raise more for a new appeal.