Â Jamaican Rudolph Austin looks unlikely to complete his move to Stoke after having his work permit application rejected at a hearing yesterday. The hearing was attended by Stoke manager Tony Pulis, Director of Football John Rudge and Chief Executive Tony Scholes, who last month agreed a fee of around Â£1.1 million for the midfielder/defender and personal terms with him.
Â After chasing Austin for 18 months, and initially having a work permit refused a year ago, the news comes as a great dissapointment. There seems to be a glimmer of hope for the deal though, as Pulis reveals he has been in contact with the club’s lawyers and they are, ”Looking down all avenues to see what the next step is.”
Â Rudolph himself is said to be upset by the decision, who wouldn’t at being denied the chance to join Stoke? However, Pulis went on to say that he is a great lad and he will make sure it does not affect him.
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Â The news is very disappointing forPotters fans, particularly as we appeared to have a strong case. Rudolph is rated as an ”exceptional” talent and the best Jamaican product of recent years. The fact that Stoke have been prepared to stick in the chase for Austin for a year and a half also shows how highly Pulis must rate him, and should, in my eyes have worked in our favour.
Â On top of this, Rudolph has played more than 75% of Jamaica’s competitive matches in the last two years, meeting one of the criteria for an automatic work permit. However, as Jamaica are currently outside the top 70 in the world rankings, the other criteria was not met. Surely it is unfair to judge the likelihood of a player to succeed on the past successes of his country. This prejudiced view makes it far harder for quality players from less developed countries to succeed in the sport, surely working against FIFA’s goal of improving the quality of the sport all around the globe.
Â The point of the work permit system is to stop unskilled people coming into the country and being a burden to the state. Surely a talented young sportsman who is guarenteed a high paid job for the next three years, contributing his fair share to taxes could in no way be considered a burden.
Â The case of Demar Phillips may have worked against us in the hearing. The winger, currently on loan at Oldham, was granted a work permit last year when Jamaica were in the top 70 in the world rankings. Since signing, he has failed to make a big impession at stoke and it is possible that it was feared a similar fate might befall Rudolph.
Â Finally, I find it hard to believe that if a higher profile club, particularly one of the ‘Big Four’ had been in a similar situation, they would have been denied the work permit. Take for example Ecuadorian Felipe Caicedo who was granted a work permit in similar circumstances for his move to Manchester City in January.
Â It is possible that Stoke may have to wait a year before attempting to sign Austin again, by which time the chance may have passed as he may have moved elsewhere, with reported interest from Brazil.
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