• Former Manchester United striker was flying to Caribbean via Miami
• Iranian stamp on his passport was the source of controversy
Dwight Yorke, the former Manchester United striker, was “made to feel like a criminal” as he was denied entry to the United States on Friday.
Yorke said he was prevented from entering the country due to an Iranian stamp on his passport having represented the ‘World Stars’ in a charity match against ‘Iranian Stars’ in Tehran in 2015.
The 45-year-old enjoyed widespread success in English football, playing for Aston Villa, United, Blackburn, Birmingham and Sunderland before retiring in 2009. Yorke has enjoyed a varied career since then and, having this week worked for beIN Sports, was due to travel from Doha, Qatar to Trinidad and Tobago, via Miami, on personal business on Friday.
“I couldn’t quite believe what was happening” Yorke told the Sun. “I have lost count of the number of times I have been to America. I love the country, yet I was being made to feel like a criminal.
“I had bought my ticket and checked in and was about to get on the flight when I was stopped by two officials. I thought, ‘What is happening here?’ They told me there was a visa problem and a red flag had come up against my name because of an Iranian stamp in my passport. I went there to play in a legends match to open a stadium and didn’t even stay overnight.
“The two officials told me if I got on the flight I would simply be deported back to Qatar once I arrived in the States. I tried to explain I didn’t even live in Qatar and was just trying to get to my home in the Caribbean.”
Last month the US president, Donald Trump, signed an executive order temporarily barring those from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen entering the country. On Thursday Trump’s administration said in court documents that it does not want a larger appeals panel to review a ruling keeping its travel ban on hold and will instead replace the ban.
The Somalia-born British Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah called the travel ban “deeply troubling” and has fears over his return to America. Farah lives and trains in Portland, Oregon, and is currently in Birmingham for the Indoor Grand Prix.
Asked if he had concerns when he returns to the US, he said: “Yes, I’ve had issues before. But hopefully it will be fine, I always try and look on the bright side of life. I’m not going back yet. I’m competing here and then on Sunday back to another training camp as I have to do a bit more training but I do have to go back in March and see my family and at that point we will see.”