Michael Essien, who recently signed joined Indonesian side, Persib Bandung, faces up to a five-year jail term in Indonesia, or at least deportation, for working without obtaining a work permit in the country.
Immigration officials in the country have revealed that Essien and former English international Carlton Cole, who also plays for Persib, had obtained a work permit to practice their professions in Indonesia.
That violates Indonesia’s strict immigration laws, and the pair face deportation or prosecution, for which they could be fined up to £30,000 and face up to five years in prison.
In his defense, Mr. Essien’s team, Persib Bandung, has admitted to not having acquired the proper paperwork from authorities prior to Michael Essien’s first game, even though it says it sought to do so. Although the permits were not ready on time, the club states that the football association and league organizers had given the go ahead for Michael Essien to play.
Persib claims they are aware the pair have no work permits but that the league gave them permission to use them.Persib Manager Umuh Muchtar said the players are the victims of a witch hunt. “That they are here is a joy for us, they want to raise up Indonesia’s name in the world. Everybody knows that Essien is a world-class player, not an illegal immigrant.”