Wigan inform North Korea of FA work visa verdict
Wigan Athletic have been working hard since the transfer window slammed shut on Deadline Day to sign North Korea international defender Ri Yong-Chol. The drastic measure to sign the 26-year-old comes after Wigan found themselves short of out-of-contract free agents willing to join the club on a limited wage packet.
But last night, Latics` three-man negotiating team informed the player and the North Korean authorities of the FA`s decision to refuse legislating to the government for a work permit. The Tics negotiating team included the club`s Chief Executive, Secretary and a UK based interpreter, according to today`s Beijing Daily Messenger.
Each of them were invited to North Korea`s Asia Cup match against Lebanon (which took place earlier this week). However, Chief Exec Jonathan Jackson and his team politely declined - citing that the journey would have been unrealistic and a hindrance to the deal`s immediate progress.
North Korean radio outlet Voice of Korea (www.vok.rep.kp) pointed to the 'unhelpful` outcome as another way in which "the United Kingdom government has sought to undermine DPR Korea."
Hong Son Ok, Vice-Chair of the Supreme People`s Assembly, condemned the English FA on North Korea`s state run 'Sport Television` service but came out of the talks with new found respect for "Wigan Club" due to their "respectful and knowledgeable dialogue."
Wigan Athletic are yet to make an official statement, although a source inside the club said: "[Latics negotiating team] should be proud of their efforts. The recruitment team came out with a list of potential signings on the evening of Deadline Day and there were raised eyebrows when one of them was a [North] Korean. Some thought we`d never get things off the ground, yet we did. I`d like to think we`ve maybe even gained a few admirers in that part of the world because of it."
Wigan will likely be accepting defeat instead of appealing the FA`s decision. The rogue state`s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un, is known to have been aware of the saga but did not play a part in the negotiations.
Vital Football would again like to thank Shaobo of China Daily for his Chinese and Korean translations over the past week. They have been greatly appreciated by thousands of people in Britain glued to this subject.
Latics Chairman David Sharpe and Manager Paul Cook will be attending a Fans Forum at the DW Stadium this evening. Sharpe has privately requested that questions relating to Yong-chol are not asked. The forum begins at 7pm and is sponsored by Heineken.