Michael Essien’s Ban: Why Former Chelsea Star Can’t Play in Indonesia at the Moment

Michael Essien’s ban comes barely a month after he signed a one-year deal with Indonesia’s Persib Bandung.

Michael Essien has been banned from playing for Indonesian side Persib Bandung, until he acquires the required work permits. Essien and his former Chelsea teammate, Carlton Cole were banned by Indonesian authorities after their new club did not obtain the necessary documents on their behalf.

This ban comes barely a month after the Ghanaian signed a one-year deal with the Indonesian side. Michael Essien joined Persib Bandung on March 14.

Michael Essien’s Ban

The ban was reportedly issued after Professional Sports Agency discovered that the players did not have the required work permits. Persib Bandung admitted they had not finished processing the paperwork for the duo before they made they got into the country.

Michael Essien’s ban

Explaining their side of the story, Persib admitted they knew Essien and Cole’s permits weren’t ready when they fielded them on Saturday, but claimed they were given the go-ahead by the Indonesian Football Association.

Akin to the above explanation; Joko Driyono, the secretary-general of the country’s football association, said the association had granted permission for Persib to field the duo over the weekend, due to the rigorous process involved in getting the permits. However Driyono says they would help the club in obtaining the documents.

After calling in the players and Persib’s management for questioning, Indonesia’s immigration authorities said Tuesday the pair would not be able to play until they obtained the permits.

But after much deliberations, immigration authorities said Tuesday the pair would not be able to play until they obtained the permits. They gave a strong warning to Persib in the form of a letter saying that as long as the club had not completed the permits, which should be issued by the manpower ministry, Essien and Cole would be banned from playing.

Persib have promised to abide by the ban while they strive to get the work permits with the assistance of the Indonesian Football Association.

Asides the ban, it could have been something more severe for the duo. According to reports, there are more drastic punishments for violating immigration laws in Indonesia. This ranges from fines of up to £30,000 to 5 years of imprisonment. But with the help of football authorities, the duo will only have to wait in a corner till their papers are cleared.

Persib Badung Manager Unhappy

Persib Bandung manager, Umuh Muchtar has accused the Professional Sports Agency, of going too far. The club’s President fumed that it was very drastic of immigration authorities to regard Michael Essien who is a world class player, as an illegal immigrant.

Essien who sealed a one-year deal with the Indonesian side has become the highest paid player in the Ligue, being on an 800,000 euros per year salary. There is also an option to extend his contract till 2018, should he prove himself in his expected role as the chief playmaker of the team.

Michael Essien last played for Greek side Panathinaikos and the Ghana national team. The 34-year-old has played for Chelsea, AC Milan and Real Madrid. England’s Cole has played for Chelsea and West Ham.

Indonesian side signed Essien and Cole in a boost for Indonesian football as it seeks to bounce back from a FIFA suspension and launch a new league. There have been no reports concerning the possible time for Essien’s resumption, as club managers are still working towards completing his papers and that of Carlton Cole.