Sunil had signed a three-year contract with Queen's Park Rangers few weeks back. The club since has been working to get its work permit for him to play in England.
He was informed by his agent yesterday that
It was rejected by the UK government. Since India is not in the top 70 in the
FIFA ranking and the British government only permits non-EU players if the
player is playing for the country and the country is ranked below 70 in FIFA
Queen's Park Rangers is also partly owned by Mittal
Group. The club had been following Sunil's career for over a year and they were
very happy with the way he has been progressing and playing.
The club's CEO had
also come to see him in Barcelona. Sunil though did not train initially in
Barcelona but joined in the later stage. The amount of training and two matches
he played were very impressive.
Sunil has been on the radar of a lot of scouts
over the years. His performances have been outstanding for the club and the
country. It was rather unfortunate that he got injured during the end of the I-
league, which kept him out for a month and half. There has certainly been lot
of interest in Indian players over the past few years and it was quite a set
back for him to be out in the initial part of the Barcelona tour.
It would definitely have been a major step forward
for Indian football had his work permit gone through. Queen's Park is a massive
club and are currently playing the championship league. They are one of the
favourites to win the league.
"Sunil would surely have
done well in Queen's Park. He has the ability to play even in the premiership
with one or two years of experience in the championship with QPR.
"It's sad that
Indian team does not play enough international matches and that is a big setback
for our ranking as well as our development. This is also a reason why today
Sunil is not playing in England," said Indian skipper Bhaichung Bhutia.
Asked why was this contract with Queen's Park was
kept under wraps, Sunil says, "I had signed with them few weeks back and I
knew I still would have had to wait for a work permit. So with lots of stories
about me playing in Europe and with having a bad experience with the media in
the Coventry case, I was sceptical.
"I am disappointed because the work permit
is something that I can't do anything about, being so close and not getting it
is indeed disappointing. But it's not the end of the world. I will still
continue working hard for my country and my club Dempo, who have been very