Akram deal not dead yet
Nashat Akram's proposed move to Manchester City could still go through.
By Chris Burton
Last Updated: 30/01/08 1:34pm
Nashat Akram's proposed move to Manchester City may still happen after calls for a review into the decision to reject his work permit application.
City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson was keen to bring the Iraqi midfielder to the City of Manchester Stadium, but a technicality in immigration rules for footballers has forced the deal to be held up.
The law states that for a player to be allowed to enter the country their national side must be ranked in the top 70 in the Fifa world rankings.
As Iraq have had an average ranking of 71 for the past two years a permit and resulting appeal from City were denied.
However, with Watford recently winning an appeal to allow Sierra Leone midfielder Al Bangura to stay in the country and politicians keen to get involved in the dispute as they feel it could be good for relationships between the two countries, there is still hope that the deal could yet be revived.
"I shall be calling on the Home Secretary to review this decision," said Keith Vaz, Labour MP for Leicester East.
"Here we have someone who wants to come and work legitimately, a role model for his country, whose presence here can heal divisions in Iraq.
"Parliament has given ministers the right to exercise their discretion and they should use it.
"This case sends out all the wrong messages."
Eriksson has also refused to give up on the player and admits that they will continue to closely monitor the situation for the foreseeable future.
"I have huge sympathy for Nashat. He is a very good footballer with an excellent international pedigree," he said.
"He has now returned to the Middle-East and we will keep in touch with him. He is somebody who we will maintain an interest in for the long term."