Entitlement to Australian citizenship and A-league player opportunities: the Chris Oldfield case

The Australian Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) recently overturned a decision of the delegate of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection in relation to an application for Australian citizenship by a goalkeeper namely Chris Oldfield who had come to Australia from England in 2012. The case revealed some unique football characteristics in terms of the interpretation of the term “disadvantage” when considering whether to take the goalkeeper’s prior residence in Australia into account when considering a citizenship application.


The goalkeeper Oldfield arrived in Australia in 2012 on a working holiday visa and has mainly played semi-professional football in the second division National Premier League in Melbourne, Victoria which is classified as the semi-professional. In a background submission put to the AAT it was stated that, “Oldfield had trained with Liverpool Football Club and continued to play with them until he was playing at the Reserve level. When he was 18½ years of age, his contract was not renewed. Mr Oldfield was spotted by an Australian sports agent and encouraged to continue his career in Australia.[1] “Oldfield initially held a Working Holiday (Subclass 417) (Temporary) visa on 4 February 2012 and entered Australia a few days later on 8 February 2012. On 14 November...

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