Peters gets all clear

CANADIAN hot property Jaime Peters has been given the go ahead to sign for Ipswich Town after initially being told he could not have a work permit.The Blues have spent months working behind the scenes to get the original decision overturned and the EADT understands from sources involved in the process that they have finally succeeded.

By Derek Davis

CANADIAN hot property Jaime Peters has been given the go ahead to sign for Ipswich Town after initially being told he could not have a work permit.

The Blues have spent months working behind the scenes to get the original decision overturned and the EADT understands from sources involved in the process that they have finally succeeded.

A formal decision is expected to be announced today and, once the club has been told officially, Peters will then fly in to join Joe Royle's squad.


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His arrival will end months of uncertainty and will be a big boost to Town.

The 18-year-old international winger was refused a visa last February but the decision was kept secret until now.

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Although a large number of Blues' fans have been asking about the Peters' situation, Ipswich have been reluctant to comment so as not to prejudice the appeal.

A review panel sat in Sheffield yesterday, comprising three members from within football and three independent members, to consider Town's well-prepared case.

Peters' ability is not in doubt. He was a full international at 17 and has been courted by clubs including Manchester United, Chelsea, Derby and Millwall, but he chose the Blues after taking advice from Frank Yallop and Jason De Vos, amongst others.

When Peters signed a pre-agreement with Ipswich it was on the understanding he would be allowed a work permit but this was subsequently refused by the British High Commission.

As a resident of a non-European Economic Area country, Peters and the club needed to apply for a work permit, which Ipswich Town understood would be granted.

The problems started in February when the rules on Working Holiday Maker visas changed and excluded sportsmen and people in showbiz.

The first the Blues and Peters' agent knew of the changes, which were implemented without warning, was when his application was rejected in Canada.

Town thought that Peters would sign on his 18th birthday in May but that clearly could not happen and the young player went away on international duty and has not so far returned, leaving Ipswich fans wondering what had happened to him.

Ordinarily, Peters' 10 international appearances in 12 games would be enough for him to be granted a work permit under the Highly Skilled Migrant programme but Canada are not in the top 70 of the FIFA rankings and so do not meet the necessary criteria.

The Canucks are currently ranked 89 in the list, aggregated over the past two years.

Although he played for Canada in their Gold Cup campaign earlier in the month, and has been keeping fit, Peters has been inactive for the past couple of weeks and so needs games.

He may be included in the Blues' squad to face Colchester United in Brian Owen's testimonial match on Tuesday but, more likely, the reserve team that plays at Dagenham next Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Portsmouth were successful with their work permit appeal for Zambian striker Collins Mbesuma, who became their seventh signing of the summer.

It means Pompey can complete the deal to take the prolific 21-year-old from South African champions Kaizer Chiefs, where he scored 35 goals as they retained their title last season.

Top clubs all over Europe were said to be chasing Mbesuma. Despite this, he was turned down for an automatic work permit to play in this country two weeks ago after agreeing a three-year deal with Portsmouth who are understood to have agreed a bargain price of £500,000 for him.

Mbesuma's appeal success could stop Portsmouth pushing through a £2million move for Norwich midfielder Damien Francis.

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