Written by WiganGooner
As with all Football Clubs, Arsenal send their scouts all over the world looking for top, top talent. Just a few of the Nationalities at Arsenal are of course French, Spanish, Swiss, Belgian, Russian, Dutch, Argentinian, Brazilian, English, Welsh, Polish, Bolivian – the list goes on.
The thorn in the side of the Premier League comes when attempting to secure talent from outside of the EU. Law in the United Kingdom states that Non-EU Nationals seeking gainful employment in the UK require a Work Permit and of course a Visa.
The criteria for a Work Permit which will also provide a Governing Body Endorsement (critical for the Visa) are as follows;
- 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;
- 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
- 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
Please note none of the above tournaments include youth teams such as Under 21’s, 19’s., 16’s etc.
So you see, it really isn’t that simple to qualify naturally for a Work Permit. Young talent rarely meets the requirements as set above. Clubs like Arsenal are given three choices; 1) Apply for an “Exceptional Talent Visa” – the likes of which are also given to top Doctors and Scientists, 2) Send the players to a EU country where the Immigration laws are less strict (Belgium, Spain) or 3) Stop scouting kids that will not qualify straight away.
Option 3 isn’t really a workable option, it seems our Immigration is woolly at best and even gave indications that Wellington would be accepted for a Exceptional Talent visa before refusing it.
Arsenal use Option 2 a lot, with the likes of Vela (though he is back now), Botelho, Gallindo and Wellington out across Spain in an attempt to gain time in that EU Country to then qualify for dual-citizenship as an EU National.
This is where Wellington finds himself at the moment. He is registered on loan with Levante in Spain and has struggled to make any kind of impact whatsoever this season. Reports of him being out of shape, struggling with diet, showing a lack of discipline in training etc are flooding out of Spain’s less reliable sources.
It is worth pointing out Vela had similar negative accusations, as did Botelho. Botelho’s stemmed from a rather unfortunate relationship with the daughter of the Chief Exec at Celta, Vela’s about mentality and work-rate.
I hope Wellington is able to get the Exceptional Talent Visa, I think he would be more at ease at London Colney where he can see his path to the Arsenal first team. Certainly I feel for the boy, dragged from his country and family and plonked in a new culture, new club and he just isn’t getting game time.
Levante have said to the media that he is on course to meet Arsenal’s requirements and that it’s not just about him playing games but about acclimatising to a bigger club, a different culture and a different mentality to training and preparation.
All this just to gain an exceptionally talented player who might turn out to be the next Ronaldo, Messi etc.
For the sake of the boy, I really hope it is worth it.