Lucky boy Michael Essien has escaped being fined, imprisoned or deported in Indonesia for flouting the nation’s tough immigration laws.
Essien, who currently plays for Persib Bandung in the Asian nation, was cited for playing football without having secured a work permit.
Alongside former England international Carlton Cole, immigration authorities threatened them with deportation or imprisonment, but after hearing the case, they are being permitted to stay until they get their work permits – but would not be able to play any football within the meantime.
“Today we gave a strong warning to Persib in the form of a letter saying that as long as Persib had not completed the permits, which should be issued by the manpower ministry, we are banning Essien and Cole from playing,” said Maulia Purnamawati, the immigration chief in Bandung.
The club have accepted the ban, and say they would work round the clock to get the permits to allow their two foreign stars to get back to action.