BANGKOK (Reuters) - Suree Sukha’s hopes of becoming the first Thai to play in the English Premier League have hit a setback after his application for a work permit was rejected by the government.
Fullback Suree had impressed Manchester City on a two-week trial, but the Home Office refused him a permit as Thailand are ranked outside FIFA’s top 70 and he had not played in 75 percent of their international matches, the Bangkok Post reported on Saturday.
Suree, who earns less than $300 (148.72 pounds) a week in the Thai league, said he was hopeful the club could pull a few strings to get him on board.
“Man City will talk to the British government and resubmit my application,” he told the daily.
Suree was one of three Thai players recently invited by City’s new owner, exiled former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, to train with the northwest club, who are currently second in the league behind Chelsea.
Thaksin’s critics have dismissed his 81 million pounds City takeover and efforts to sign Suree as attempts to win support in his homeland with a view to a return to politics.
The billionaire tycoon, ousted in a coup last year and accused by the junta of corruption and abuse of power, insists he has quit politics.