Juan Agudelo found himself on the wrong side of a decision made by the Footballer’s Association in England. Agudelo, a rising talent, announced this past summer that he had secured a transfer away from the New England Revolution to BPL club Stoke City. On November 20th, Stoke City announced on their official website that Agudelo’s work permit had been denied. Chief Executive Tony Scholes and Manager Mark Hughes appealed the decision but their appeal was denied. Scholes explained,
The criteria by which the panel should make work permit application decisions are well established and have been in place for some years and despite recent comments to the media and discussion in the media, that criteria has not changed. We are therefore left amazed that our application for a work permit for Juan has been rejected when you compare his talent and ability to players who have been granted a work permit on appeal in the past.
The FA made a call to tighten the criteria for foreign footballers entering England. These restrictions would give younger English players more opportunities to play. Currently, any player transferring from a European Union nation to the BPL does not require a work permit. Players outside of the European Union are required to have played 75 per cent of competitive matches for their national team in the past two years and their national team must be ranked in the top seventy in the world in FIFA’s rankings. Agudelo has appeared for the US only 17 times. Exceptions can be made through the appeals process. Chelsea has recently won appeals for Brazilian player Willian despite the fact that he has played for Brazil only twice. Some players have been admitted because they appeal on the grounds that the player has a high net-worth and has a large amount of money to contribute to the British economy. According to FA Chairman Greg Dyke, he states that thirty per cent of players who entered the league over the summer did not meet this criteria but were still granted a permit.