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Will Shinji Kagawa get a work permit to fulfil his move to Manchester United?

by Sam Peoples

Shinji Kagawa of Borussia Dortmund (Getty Images)

It has been rumoured today that Shinji Kagawa may not get a work permit in the United Kingdom, this has snagged the deal according to Goal.com. I have just done some research on the ‘work permit’ issue and have found out that Goal.com are incorrect in what they have reported.

The Football Association website says the following on obtaining a work permit for a foreign player;

Criteria for Players

To be eligible for a Governing Body Endorsement under PBS:

1. A player must have played for his country in at least 75% of its competitive “A” team matches he was available for selection, during the 2 years preceding the date of the application;

2. The player’s country must be at or above 70th place in the official FIFA World Rankings when averaged over the 2 years preceding the date of the application; and

3. The application for a GBE must be made by a club in membership of the Premier League or Football League and the player will only play for clubs in membership of those leagues. Competitive matches

The definition of a competitive ‘A’ team international match is a:
– World Cup Finals game
– World Cup Qualifying group game; and
– Football Association Confederation game, for example:
– The FIFA Confederations Cup;
– The UEFA European Championships and Qualifiers;
– The African Cup of Nations and Qualifiers;
– The Asia Nations Cup and Qualifiers;
– The CONCACAF Gold Cup;
– The CONCACAF The Copa Caribe;
– The CONMEBOL Copa America;
– The OFC Nations Cup and
– The UNCAF Nations Cup

International Appearances

Prior to submitting an application, clubs should provide written confirmation of the player’s international appearance record over the preceding two years highlighting the competitive ‘A’ matches. This should be obtained from the player’s home association. The Governing Body will be unable to make a decision on the application until written evidence is provided. If any evidence submitted needs verifying the Governing Body will liaise with other parties and verify the information through all available sources, if necessary.

Exclusion from selection for international matches due to injury or suspension will be taken into consideration when applying the criteria. Clubs should submit supporting evidence in such cases stipulating the games the player has missed. Ideally evidence will be required from the player’s national association or, if not available from the association, from his club.

It should be noted that where a player is listed as on the substitutes’ bench, he will not be considered as injured when reaching a decision on issuing an endorsement.

FIFA Rankings

There are currently 201 international teams listed in the official FIFA world rankings. Those countries which have regularly achieved a 70th placing or higher over a period of two years are regarded as nations who have competed regularly at a highly competitive international
level and have players of the highest standard who have contributed consistently to the achievement of that world ranking.

The Governing Body will produce the aggregated two-year rankings list on a monthly basis when the official FIFA world rankings are published and those countries ranked 70th or above meet the criterion. The aggregated rankings can be downloaded from this website. If clubs have any queries about the rankings they should contact The Football Association.

Length of Issue

Governing Body Endorsements should be issued for a period appropriate to the period of approval for sponsorship or the tier under which the application is being made, that is: As a Sponsor – Tier 2 or Tier 5 – for 4 years.

What this means for Shinji Kagawa and Manchester United

At the moment it means that under these rules, the Japanese international would not fit the criteria to obtain a work permit because he has only played 11 out of 16 matches to fit the requirement, which is 68.75% or 6.25% short of reaching the 75% threshold set bt the United Kingdom and the football Association. Shinji Kagawa is in Japan now getting ready to play three FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, which will be completed by 12th June 2012. If Manchester United wait until these fixtures have been played, Kagawa would have played 14 out of 19 matches that fit the requirements, the percentage will be 73.7% which will only be 1.3% short of the requirement. Kagawa did spend just under six months out injured from 24th January 2011 until 18th July 2011 with a Metatarsal fracture, which kept him out of a couple of matches for his country.

Also if the work permit fails, Manchester United can appeal like they did for Javier Hernandez. According to the Football Association rules, an appeal can be made. In order to secure a work permit, Manchester United must convince the Football Association that Shinji Kagawa is an elite player who could not be recruited within the European Union for a similar fee.

As Kagawa plays for Borussia Dortmund in Germany, which is part of the European Union and he will have a work permit there, I am not sure whether the rules will allow him to obtain a work permit in the United Kingdom with out all of the bureaucratic hoops being jumped through. What I am sure of is Manchester United will have done all of their homework and would not be closing down a signing if there was not a chance of the player getting a work permit in the United Kingdom.

I am sure it is only a matter of time before we see this transfer completed, unless it is due to other unforseen circumstances, which could arise in any possible transfer of a player.

By Paul Bienkowski

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