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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Dwight Yorke denied travel to U.S. because of Iranian stamp on passport

Dwight Yorke
Dwight Yorke said he was 'made to feel like a criminal' when denied entry into the United States.

Former Manchester United man Dwight Yorke said he was "made to feel like a criminal" after being prevented from travelling to the United States on Friday.

Yorke said he was prevented from boarding a flight that was scheduled to stop in Miami because of a visa problem stemming from an Iranian stamp on his passport, which he received after playing in a charity match in Tehran in 2015.

"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."

In January 2016, the U.S. state department tightened restrictions on travelers who had been to Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria since 2011, requiring them to apply for a visa.

Yorke's incident was unrelated to U.S. President Donald Trump's recent executive order temporarily barring citizens from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the country. That order has been overturned in court, though Trump says he plans to replace it with a new order.

Yorke enjoyed widespread success in English football, playing for United, Aston Villa, Blackburn, Birmingham and Sunderland as well as spell with Sydney FC in Australia before retiring in 2009.

The 45-year-old 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. However, before boarding his flight to Miami from Qatar, Yorke said he was stopped by two airport officials.

"I had bought my ticket and checked in and was about to get on the flight when I was stopped by two officials," Yorke said. "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."

Information from Press Association and AAP was used in this report.

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