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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 December 2007, 14:41 GMT
Bangura given hope by Home Office
Alhassan Bangura
Bangura could yet be allowed to remain in the UK
Watford's Al Bangura will be allowed to remain in the UK while he applies for a work permit after the Home Office heard his appeal against deportation.

The 19-year-old midfielder had last week been ordered back to Sierra Leone.

Bangura's chances of attaining a work permit would normally be slim as he is uncapped and Sierra Leone are outside the top 70 nations in Fifa's rankings.

But his case will be considered by an independent panel of members of the Home Office and the football world.

Labour MP Claire Ward, who brokered the meeting with Home Office minister Liam Byrne and has been a staunch supporter of Bangura's case, said: "They will consider his track record and what he brings to the game.

"They will then recommend to the Home Office whether he should be allowed to stay.

"At the same time the lawyers will be submitting Al's appeal through the legal process to the tribunal's decision, so we have two ways now to sort this out.

"We have moved a step further and it's a matter now for the panel to judge the sort of things that Watford fans have been seeing over the last few seasons, which is just how good Al is."

606: DEBATE
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Watford chairman Graham Simpson was relieved to hear the news but admitted that the saga "is not over yet".

Bangura has yet to feature in the league this season after a succession of injuries but made 16 appearances in the Premier League last season as the Hornets were relegated.

Bangura, who arrived in Britain four years ago from his war-torn African homeland, made his debut for the Hornets as a 17-year-old in April 2005.

Simpson said: "We are very hopeful that we can now find a way through.

"It's a positive move forward and we are very hopeful for Al. He is a special case because he is a highly skilled individual who has a great talent.

"He has a fiancée here with a young child and if he goes out of this country then the state will have to pay to look after them. Al is quite capable of doing that if he stays here.

"We support him and we are all in this together and hopefully this will be resolved in the next few weeks."



SEE ALSO
Country profile: Sierra Leone
18 Sep 07 |  Country profiles
Bangura pens new Watford deal
19 May 07 |  African
Watford pair sign extended deals
20 Jul 06 |  Watford


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