Closing borders? Nigerian Onazi has transfer to Birmingham City scuppered

By Mark Baber

August 17 – Nigerian international Qgenyi Onazi (pictured) has seen his transfer to Birmingham City from Trabzonspor scuppered after he failed to meet the requirements for governing body endorsement and an FA Exceptions Panel failed to rule in his favour.

Ogenyi Onazi and his representatives are understood to be deeply disappointed after an FA Exceptions Panel opted not to rule in the player’s favour after he failed to meet the criteria for automatic governing body endorsement under Tiers 2 (Sportsperson) and 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting) of the Home Office Points Based System (‘PBS’) for the 2017/2018 season.

Onazi’s international record includes playing at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and a successful stint at Trabzonspur which saw him winning possession in the middle third more times than any other Turkish Super Lig player.

However, Onazi failed to meet the points-based criteria for automatic acceptance, largely due to the poor FIFA ranking of the Nigerian national team over the 24 month period prior to his application. Although Nigeria are ranked 38th in the August 2017 ranking, they finished 54th on aggregate over the past two years.

After failing to meet the automatic criteria, Birmingham requested an Exceptions Panel consider Onazi’s experience and value to determine if governing body endorsement should nevertheless be granted.

Much to the disappointment of Birmingham boss Harry Redknapp, the three-person panel -whose decisions are guided by objective criteria such as value of transfer fee, wages paid to player, status of current club and current league status – failed to make a determination in the player’s favour and was not satisfied that Onazi deserved governing body endorsement on the basis of being internationally established at the highest level and that his employment would make a significant contribution to the development of football at the highest level in England.

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