PSG's Serge Aurier is no danger to England, lawyer says after visa refusal

Paris Saint-Germain defender Serge Aurier is "not a danger to England," his lawyer said after he was refused entry to the UK for Wednesday's Champions League game at Arsenal.

Aurier, 23, had his UK entry visa rescinded on Tuesday. The Ivory Coast international, whose application for French citizenship was rejected in 2011, had initially been granted right of entry in October.

However, the UK authorities asked PSG to send his passport back to them last week so the application could be reassessed.

The reason given for the rejection of his visa application -- which L'Equipe called "l'Aurierxit" -- was given as him being a risk to public order.

In September, Aurier was given a "convertible" two-month prison sentence for assaulting a police officer, a verdict against which he has appealed.

"You get the impression that he's being targeted, as if some headlines have to be written about Serge Aurier. I don't remember such a measure being taken in the area of sports in recent years," L'Equipe quoted lawyer Romain Vanni as saying.

"All that I know is that my client is not a danger to England."

PSG lawyer Francois Klein said: "This decision is all the more surprising as Aurier has appealed against his conviction. Imagine that the Court of Appeal upholds his appeal. He'll have been prevented from playing a match for no reason."

The club reportedly assigned a group of English lawyers to examine the decision, while the French champions' president, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, phoned UEFA counterpart Aleksander Ceferin on Friday to appeal for help.

"UEFA expresses its deep disappointment that Paris Saint-Germain player Serge Aurier has not been allowed to enter the United Kingdom in order to play his club's Champions League match against Arsenal," a statement from European football's governing body, published on PSG's official website, said.

Belgium international Thomas Meunier will replace Aurier in PSG's starting XI in north London, and coach Unai Emery told a news conference: "The club did everything for Serge to be here, but the decision wasn't in our hands.

"But I have faith in Thomas Meunier, who has already played in big games for us this season."