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Netball: Visa issues force Malawi to drop out of England tie

PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: England take on Malawi in 2011 (PA)

WALES HAVE stepped in to fill the void left by Malawi after they had to pull out of their first match against England for a three-Test series.

The Southeast Africans, nicknamed the Queens, were scheduled to play England at Liverpool’s Echo Arena on Sunday (Dec 14), but a mix-up involving players’ visas has led to a change in visiting opposition.

Reportedly the Malawian players did not receive their visas in time to make this weekend’s game, but England Netball said it hoped the tourists will be able to play the other two matches in the series that take place later this month.

The second Test is scheduled for December 17 at the Copper Box Arena in London, while the third and final match is set for December 20 at Worcester Arena.

In a statement, England Netball said: “Having previously received assurances that the issue was resolved, England Netball contacted the Home Office who regrettably informed us that the application had not been made.

“We are currently working extremely hard with the Home Office and the International Netball Federation to ensure that The Queens are able to obtain their visas and travel to play in the final two matches of the Series in London and Worcester.”

It added: “England Netball would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

The series was planned as England’s preparation for the 2015 Netball World Cup that is to be hosted by Australia in 2015.

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