Juan Agudelo has had his work permit appeal to play in the English Premier League rejected, according to Stoke City.
The club and Agudelo had to appeal because of a rule that states work permits can be automatically granted for a non-European Union player if they have played in at least 75 percent of their national team's games over the last two years.
Agudelo, 20, has 17 caps for the U.S. national team. But he hasn't suited up for the Yanks since Jan. 29, 2013.
With this decision, which is unlikely to be appealed a second time, Agudelo's transfer to Stoke City will likely be cancelled.
“We’re bitterly disappointed that the panel rejected our appeal for a work permit for Juan,” Tony Scholes, Stoke City's chief executive, told NBC. “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.”
Some members of the English FA are trying to crack down on transfers such as this, NBC also reported. One is Chairman Greg Dyke, who has attempted to limit the amount of young, foreign international players that enter the Premier League.
Agudelo's future remains unclear. His contract with MLS expires on Jan. 1 and the Revolution would hold his rights if he does choose to stay in the U.S. But Agudelo seems keen on trying his fortunes abroad. He said in August that even a designated player contract, which includes a salary higher than the league's salary cap would allow, wouldn't coax him to stay in MLS instead of going to Stoke.
With this latest development, Agudelo could be free to look elsewhere for international playing time. The likes Celtic, who are in the midst of a Champions League campaign, were interested in signing Agudelo in the summer.
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