It's a funny old game


nashat_akram.jpgThe arbitrariness of the Home Office work permit system is exposed by the decision to deny the footballer Nashat Akram the chance to play for Manchester City. The rejection came because Nashat is Iraqi, and Iraq is rated 72nd in the world rankings. Permits are only given to players from international teams in the top 70. This decision was made despite Nashat's remarkable performances in Iraq's surprise triumph in the Asia Cup, all the more remarkable given the disorder in his home country.

It is also not the first time the Home Office has been in the news over footballer's work permits. Jason Scotland (Trinidad and Tobago) and Mark González (Chile) were both denied permits, with latter being a deal worth £2.35 million. Perhaps the government is best left out of such decisions; at least until the mandarins at the Home Office can meet the fan's demand by scoring goals like Akram (see here and here).

As it would happen, Philippe Legrain, author of "Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them" will be arguing along these lines tonight at the Adam Smith Institute. If you would like to come, please contact Steve at or us call on 020 7222 4995.